Dish’s Sling TV gains offset by satellite subscriber losses in Q3

Sling TV, Dish Network’s live streaming TV service, added to its subscriber count during the third quarter but not enough to fully offset satellite TV subscriber losses.

Dish added 117,000 Sling TV subscribers but lost 130,000 Dish TV subscribers last quarter, amounting to a net loss of 13,000, compared to a net increase of 116,000 in the year-ago quarter. As of September 30, 2021, the company had 10.98 million U.S. pay TV subscribers including 8.42 million Dish TV subscribers and 2.56 million Sling TV subscribers.

Despite the mix shifting toward the lower-cost Sling TV, Dish grew its average revenue per pay TV user to approximately $96, up from about $92 one year ago, an increase it attributed to rate hikes for both services.

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Dish is currently locked in carriage dispute with Tegna which resulted in the broadcaster taking 64 broadcast networks affiliated with CBS, Fox, NBC and others off of Dish’s pay TV service. The satellite provider warned that the blackout will likely have a negative impact on its new subscriber acquisitions and pay TV churn rate, which declined slightly year over year to 1.39%.

“There can be no assurance that the removal of these or other channels will not have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition or otherwise disrupt our business. In addition, we cannot predict with any certainty the impact to our net pay TV subscriber additions, gross new Dish TV subscriber activations, and Dish TV churn rate resulting from additional programming interruptions or threatened programming interruptions that may occur in the future,” the company wrote in an SEC filing.

Dish reported revenue totaling $4.45 billion for the quarter, compared to $4.53 billion for the same quarter of 2020. Net income attributable to Dish Network totaled $557 million, compared to $505 million one year ago.