Dish Network shed 129,000 net subscribers in the hurricane-heavy third quarter, leading to a revenue and profit downturn that undershot Wall Street estimates.
Total revenue of $3.58 billion for the quarter that ended Sept. 30 was off a tick compared with $3.77 billion in the comparable period in 2016. Net income attributable to Dish was $297 million, down from $318 million, and diluted per-share earnings were 57 cents, compared with 67 cents a year ago.
The pay-TV subscription tally at the end of the third quarter was 13.2 million, compared with 13.6 million in the year-ago quarter, though roughly 145,000 of the lost subscribers represented all Dish customers in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The 129,000 net-loss figure accounts for the storm’s impact.
Dish said it activated about 638,000 gross new pay-TV subscribers, compared with about 736,000 gross new Pay-TV subscribers in the prior year’s third quarter. It also said expenses will be incurred down the road to get customers in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands re-connected.
The company’s pay-TV subscriber churn rate was 1.57%, an improvement from 2.11% a year ago, but revenue per user – an important metric for distributors – came in at $87.23, compared with $89.44.
Results for Sling TV, Dish’s internet-delivered “skinny bundle” service, are included with the overall subscriber numbers.