Dish Network said the devastating hurricane that ripped through Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands in September led to its net loss of 129,000 TV subscribers third quarter of 2017.
Excluding the losses Puerto Rico and the USVI, Dish actually posted a small net gain of 16,000 pay-TV subs in the U.S., according to the company. In addition, its overall churn rate improved in Q3 — standing at 1.57% compared with 2.11% in Q3 2016.
Dish combines together both satellite and Sling TV over-the-top customers in reporting subscribers, forcing investors to guess at how poorly its core satellite biz is faring.
Overall, Dish slightly missed Wall Street’s earnings expectations for Q3. The company posted revenue of $3.58 billion, up 0.5% year over year, and net income of $297 million (down from $318 million in the year-ago quarter). Dish’s earnings per share of 57 cents missed analyst forecasts of 59 cents.
Dish said that it expects to incur expenses in connection with the re-activation of returning customers in Puerto Rico and USVI, and will therefore record any returning customers in those areas as gross new pay-TV subscriber activations for the period in which they return.
Notwithstanding Dish’s exposure to Hurricane Maria, cord-cutting and lower-cost over-the-top services continue taking their toll on traditional pay-TV players. Comcast, AT&T (which owns DirecTV) and Charter Communications each reported accelerating losses of video subscribers in Q3 — with AT&T shedding a record 385,000 DirecTV satellite and U-verse TV customers in the period.
Pictured above: Homes in Catano, Puerto Rico, on Sept. 28, one week after Hurricane Maria hit the island.
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