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Coronavirus helps subscription numbers at Dish Network

Coronavirus helps subscription numbers at Dish Network

The coronavirus pandemic has helped stanch the bloodletting at Charlie Ergen‘s struggling satellite TV company Dish Network.

The Englewood, Colo.-based company on Friday reported fewer than expected subscriber losses for the three months ended June 30, thanks to stay-at-home orders that kept customers at home watching TV.

Dish, which has been hurt by the growth of streaming video, said it lost just 96,000 TV subscribers in the second quarter, 40,000 of whom came from pay-TV service Dish and 56,000 from streaming service Sling TV. The company had been projected to lose a whopping 236,750 customers amid relentless cord-cutting by pay-TV customers.

The company attributed the deceleration to the fact that more people were watching TV while in quarantine, as well as that coronavirus-weary customers were “not willing” to let “competitors’ technicians into their home” to replace their Dish subscriptions.

The company also beat Wall Street’s quarterly predictions, which sent Dish shares up 5 percent in early-day trading.

But even as cord-cutting slowed, Ergen said Dish experienced “significant disruption” from the pandemic, as hotels, bars and other establishments that subscribe to Dish temporarily closed and dropped their services.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant disruption in certain commercial segments served by Dish, including the hospitality and airline industries,” he said.

As a result, Dish said it lost about 250,000 of these business accounts at the beginning of the second quarter and that 5,000 have since returned as paying customers. These customers weren’t counted as new subscribers.

The company said it closed the quarter with 11.27 million pay-TV subscribers, including 9.02 million Dish subscribers and 2.25 million Sling subscribers.

Quarterly income rose 42.6 percent to $452 million, or 78 cents a diluted share, compared with year-ago income of $317 million, or 60 cents a share. Revenue slid 0.6 percent to $3.19 billion from $3.21 billion.

Wall Street had expected EPS of 58 cents on revenue of $3.1 billion.

About the author

Erin Fox

Erin Fox

From television to the internet platform, Erin switched her journey in digital media with News Brig. She served as a journalist for popular news channels and currently contributes his experience for News Brig by writing about the tech domain.

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