DISH Reports Second Quarter Earnings – What Happened?

OK let’s lay it out. DISH’s earnings were a drop from last year but that’s hardly surprise. Here are the details:

  • Net income for the quarter was down approximately $380 million.
  • Earnings per shared dropped 90%.
  • Net subscribers dropped by about 200k, although that’s better than 281k the year before.
  • Year to date revenues are down about $300 million.

There are a few things you need to know before panicking. These numbers sound bad and let’s be honest, they are. However a large chunk of that loss is due to litigation expenses, and while DISH declined to say exactly what expenses, there have been some settlements lately. So this large loss is not likely to be a long-term, ongoing thing.

The second quarter has been soft for all pay-TV providers and in fact, 2Q17 looks to be the worst quarter on record for all pay-TV companies, as cord-cutting ramps up and people watch less in the summer anyway. It’s way too early to know if the extreme subscriber losses across the entire industry are a blip on the radar or a harbinger of even more losses to come. It’s generally agreed that conventional pay-TV has peaked which is precisely why the larger pay-TV companies also offer internet and phone service. A pay-TV company that doesn’t will probably have a hard time surviving.

DISH’s own detailed press release can be found here: DISH Network Reports Second Quarter 2017 Financial Results | Business Wire

This quarter definitely put a dent in DISH but we’re still talking about a company with $7 billion in revenues and over 13 million subscribers. A quarter like this is cause for alarm, to be sure, but it’s not going to sink the company, so don’t worry. It simply brings to light some of the issues that DISH knows it has — it has no internet service or phone service so it’s going to lose out over time to those companies (like AT&T) that can offer “triple play” service. DISH holds a lot of wireless spectrum licenses which has given people the impression that they want to become a cell phone provider, but so far we haven’t seen any movement there.

DISH does not separate out its Sling TV customers from its satellite customers, but it’s important to remember that the company is very active in streaming video, and that looks to be a bright spot for them in the future.