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Monday, February 26, 2024
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Dish Network’s Hard Line On Sports Hits Company Earnings

  • Subscribers, revenue, and profit all down for embattled company.
  • Lagging performance follows years of hardline stances with sports programmers.
Wheeler Cowperthwaite/The Providence Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

Dish Network has historically been one of the toughest negotiators in all of television, particularly in sports — and that hardline stance is now having a clear impact on its financial performance. 

On Monday, the company reported a net decrease of 64,000 subscribers across its Dish TV and Sling TV services, compared to a gain of 30,000 in the same period a year ago and revenue that fell to $3.7 billion from $4.1 billion in 2022’s third quarter.  

Churn rates are also increasing for Dish Network, leaving the company with a total of 8.84 million pay-TV customers, down from 10 million a year ago and 11 million two years ago.

In recent years, Dish Network has dropped all regional sports networks, conducted extended carriage and legal standoffs with several leagues and programmers, and placed channels such as the MLB Network, NBA TV, and NHL Network on only its most expensive tiers. 

“We continue to experience increased competition, including competition from other subscription video on-demand and live-linear OTT service providers, many of which are providers of our content and offer football and other seasonal sports programming direct to subscribers on an a la carte basis,” the company said in a filing with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission.

The company’s net loss of $139 million during the quarter also dramatically reverses a $412 million gain in last year’s third quarter and sent its stock down more than 30% in early trading Monday — leaving it on pace for its worst one-day performance.

With the ongoing issues in the company’s television operations and a debt load of more than $20 billion, Dish Network is increasingly trying to build a business in wireless.

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