The TV Answer Man!

Dish’s Sub Losses Continue to Mount

Dish reported today that it lost 196,000 net video subscribers in the second quarter, the continuation of a downward trend for the satcaster, and the pay TV industry as a whole.

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The satellite TV service lost fewer subs in this year’s second quarter compared to last year’s second quarter when it dropped 281,000 customers. However, Dish lost just 81,000 subscribers in the 2015 second quarter.

Last week, Comcast, Charter, AT&T and DIRECTV also reported net subscriber losses although the defections were fewer than anticipated by most financial analysts. Despite various promotions, and increases in customer service programs, the nation’s pay TV providers are struggling to maintain their video subscriber bases with some consumers opting to watch less expensive video online.

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For Dish, the subscriber decline is arguably more of a concern because it does not have the financial or marketing resources of some of its rivals such as AT&T and Comcast. In fact, Dish notes today in its report to the SEC that its competitors have certain advantages it doesn’t.

“Our competitors may be able to leverage their relationships with programmers to reduce their programming costs and/or offer exclusive content that will place them at a competitive advantage to us,” Dish states in its 10-Q report.

Dish closed the second quarter with just 13.3 million video subscribers, a far cry from a few years ago when it topped 14 million.

Two years ago, Dish launched Sling TV, the live streaming service that offers a variety of programming bundles starting at $20 a month. Some analysts have estimated that Sling has between 1.5 million and two million subscribers, but that hasn’t been enough to offset the growing losses at Dish.

(Dish includes Sling TV in its overall subscriber numbers, but does not disclose exactly how many subscribers it has. )

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— Phillip Swann