Overall not a bad quarter for DISH, at least in the current pay TV environment. After a quarterly webcast, the company released a press release showing their financials for the end of 2017. (You can find it here if you’re a press release junkie.)
Earnings per share were up and total revenue was up slightly as well year over year. However, the average user’s bill for satellite TV actually went down about $2 per month.
The most important thing here is that for the first time DISH publicly disclosed its subscriber numbers for Sling TV, the company’s streaming service. It seems about 2.2 million people prefer to get their live TV from the company’s streaming service, which is in line with what people thought it would be. Disclosing these numbers separately does make it a little harder to know if the satellite side grew or shrank, but we’ll start to see that trend after the company discloses things this way a few more times. They do claim a total gain of 39,000 subscribers.
It’s also a clear indication of how important streaming TV is going to be to DISH in the coming months and years. The company was the first to market with a viable IPTV-based live TV service unless you count cable alternatives like U-Verse TV which really are something quite different. It seems they’ve taken the lead so far and are holding onto it.
There is no doubt that in the next 12 months DISH will continue to work to beef up streaming subscribers, but the subtext here is that DISH is still in the top 3 pay-TV providers in the country and that isn’t going to change anytime soon. While 2 million streaming subs is a great number for them, the 13 million satellite subs are still what’s making the company money so anyone who thinks satellite’s day is over should probably reconsider.