Satellite TV provider Dish Network, which once maintained its dominance in the TV households, is now battling a tough competition from video streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, despite a strong contribution from its over-the-top internet television service Sling TV. The impact of shrinking subscriber base is quite evident even in the latest fourth quarter results.
The entire Pay-TV domain is suffering. The growing interest in cord-cutting has impacted the Douglas County Dish Network even more when compared to other Pay-TV providers. The company reported just over 7% drop in its fourth quarter revenue to $3.48 billion from $3.75 billion a year ago. However, profit surged in the final quarter of 2017, mainly due to the income tax benefit of about $1.2 billion from the recent tax reform. Earnings stood at $2.64 per share compared to $0.73 per share during the same period of 2016.
For the first time ever, the satellite operator even gave the numbers for Sling TV. As of Dec. 31, 2017, the number of Sling TV subscribers rose by almost 47% to 2.21 million compared to 1.5 million a year earlier. At the end of 2017, the company had 13.2 million Pay-TV subscribers, down 429,000 from the year-earlier period. In addition to the Sling TV subscribers, Dish reported having 11.02 million subscribers for DISH TV. The Pay-TV ARPU slipped to $86.43 in 2017 from $88.66 in the previous year because of more Sling TV subscribers paid lower monthly fees ($20).
However, Dish continues to lure its customers back to its Pay-TV services by offering the so-called ‘skinny bundles’ through Sling TV.