Dish misses profit estimates on bigger subscriber loss, shares fall

(Reuters) - Dish Network Corp on Wednesday missed Wall Street estimates for quarterly profit as the U.S. satellite TV service provider lost more than expected pay-TV subscribers, sending its shares down 4.8 percent.

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The company said its pay-TV business, which includes both satellite TV and streaming service Sling TV, lost a net 334,000 subscribers in the fourth quarter. Analysts were expecting Dish to lose just 264,000, according to research firm FactSet.

Dish, like its competitors, has been struggling with “cord-cutting” as consumers cancel their cable and satellite television subscriptions and increasingly shift to cheaper online video streaming.

Dish had previously warned it expected to lose subscribers due to the ongoing blackouts of Spanish-language channel Univision and premium channel HBO after contract disputes.

Dish ended the quarter with 9.9 million satellite subscribers, which make up its core TV business, down from about 11 million last year.

Streaming service Sling TV had 2.42 million subscribers at the end of the quarter, up from 2.2 million in the prior-year quarter.

Analysts have said Dish’s market share is likely to see more pressure as companies like Walt Disney Co, and AT&T Inc prepare to launch streaming services later this year.

Net income attributable to Dish Network fell to $337 million, or 64 cents per share, in the quarter ended Dec. 31 from $1.39 billion, or $2.64 per share, a year earlier when it recorded an about $1.2 billion tax gain.

Excluding items, Dish earned 64 cents per share, but missed the average analyst estimate of 67 cents.

Revenue fell to $3.31 billion from $3.48 billion, but beat the analysts’ expectation of $3.28 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Shares of Dish were down 4.8 percent to $29.75 in morning trading.

Reporting by Sayanti Chakraborty in Bengaluru and Sheila Dang in New York; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Nick Zieminski