Diluted earnings came in at 82 cents per share, well ahead of analysts’ consensus for 67 cents a share and 45% over the prior-year quarter.
Revenue of $3.4 billion in the period also topped Street forecasts but slid a fraction from $3.58 billion a year ago.
The results did not reflect the blackout with HBO, which took effect last week and will hit the current fourth quarter. But the Univision impasse, which began in July, appeared to leave a major dent in the third quarter. Executives are scheduled to discuss the results with analysts during a conference call today at noon ET.
Net pay-TV subscribers declined 341,000 in the third quarter, compared with an increase of about 16,000 in the third quarter 2017. Core satellite numbers dropped 367,000, while customers signing up for the Internet-delivered skinny bundle Sling TV rose 26,000.
As a pioneer in marketing to U.S. Hispanic TV viewers, Dish features the Dish Latino package, which makes up in the range of 10% of its total subscriber base. With Univision dark for four-plus months, many of those subscribers have likely considered other pay-TV options.
“Programming disputes at Dish have become so frequent that they are now the rule rather than the exception,” wrote Craig Moffett of MoffettNathanson in a research note after the earnings release. Moffett has a “sell” rating on Dish’s stock.
“Taken collectively, they send a troubling message,” he said of the blackouts. “What Dish seems to be signaling with all of these blackouts is … well, that they don’t want to be in the video business anymore.”
Unlike other pay-TV providers, he noted, the company cannot switch customers to broadband service for them to use in streaming video.