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On Wednesday, Dish Network released its fourth-quarter revenue results. These revealed a sharp decline in subscribers, and its being attributed largely to the cord cutting phenomenon. Not only is this in line with the experiences of other major pay-TV providers, it also reflects a trend that shows no signs of slowing.
According to Forbes Magazine, Dish suffered a 7% loss. This reflects a current subscriber base of only 11-million people. This number doesn’t include the 2.12-million subscribers only using Sling TV - Dish Network’s streaming service.
Dish Network’s bottom line was significantly boosted by new tax credits and deductions made available by government changes. They also padded their final numbers by including around 75,000 subscribers that may or may not have been active due to hurricane activity over the past year. This put their final number at $3.45-billion. Even with all of these additional estimates, their numbers are still falling. Dish also claims that it added an additional 39,000 subscribers, but many doubt this due to the number estimates attributed to areas damaged by hurricanes.
Forbes writes, “Nevertheless, Dish added 39,000 pay-TV subscribers in the quarter after accounting for the addition of 75,000 subscribers in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, where services were disrupted due to Hurricane Maria.”
Even with tax breaks and a reasonable guess at the number of potential subscribers, it’s no secret that Dish is on track to continue losing money and customers to more popular streaming options.
Sling TV has begun to generate more revenue for the satellite provider, but this number has yet to even begin to approach the profit needed to replace the losses. There’s a need to diversify the entertainment options, and a fear that Dish won’t be able to compete once Disney launches their streaming services further backed by the acquisition of Fox.
It’s the trend that Sling TV represents that gives Dish Network hope for its financial future. The company noticed that their streaming service grew by 47% over the last year, and new ad campaigns created ten times the original growth predicted.
If Dish Network is willing to put more of its marketing power behind its streaming service, they may still stand a chance of staying afloat as the entertainment industry continues its transition to streaming and skinny television bundles. Sling TV is still, arguably, in its infancy. There are a number of contradicting predictions surrounding Dish Network’s potential, but for now—it’s still anyone’s game.
Patricia Howard is a freelance journalist and Netflix enthusiast from rural Indiana. She has a bachelor's degree in communication with a concentration in journalism. When Patricia isn't writing, she enjoys catching up on her favorite shows with her husband and seven children.
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