Dish Network says increased competition is slowing Sling TV subscriber growth

Dish Network has been relying on its streaming service Sling TV to offset declines in its traditional satellite TV business. But the company said competition is catching up with Sling TV, too.

During the second quarter, Dish said it lost a net 151,000 pay TV subscribers, an improvement over the 196,000 subscribers it lost in the year-ago quarter. Dish’s satellite service lost 192,000 subscribers and Sling TV subscribers rose by only approximately 41,000.

In all, Dish ended the quarter with 10.653 million Dish TV subscribers and 2.344 million Sling TV subscribers for a total of 12.997 million pay TV subscribers, down from 13.332 million pay TV subscribers at the end of the year-ago quarter.

In a 10-Q filing with the SEC, Dish outlined the increasing competition that’s facing Sling TV. The company pointed toward Netflix, Hulu, Apple, Amazon, Alphabet, Verizon, DirecTV, Sony, YouTube, Fubo and Philo, as well as programmers like HBO and Showtime that are selling direct to consumers.

“Some of these companies have larger customer bases, stronger brand recognition and greater financial, marketing and other resources than we do,” Dish wrote in the filing.

Dish also said that broadcasters, cable channels and MVPDs that are launching their own streaming services pose a threat to Sling TV, as does video piracy.

“This competition, among other things, has caused the rate of growth in subscribers to our Sling TV services to decrease.  In June 2018, we launched additional Sling TV services which include offering consumers a la carte channel subscriptions, access to pay-per-view events and movies, and access to free content.  There can be no assurance that these additional services will positively affect our results of operations or our net Sling TV subscribers,” Dish wrote.

RELATED: Dish subscriber losses slow to 94K, but revenue down 6%

Along with the subscriber declines came sagging revenues for Dish. The company posted $3.46 billion in revenue for the quarter, down from $3.64 billion one year ago. The decline was largely attributed to less subscriber revenue.

But Dish’s net income rose to $439 million during the quarter, up from $40 million one year ago when $280 million in litigation expenses ate into the company’s profits.