Dish Network rev flat in '16 despite declining pay-TV subs


BENGALURU:  The fourth largest US pay-TV player Dish Network Corporation (DNC) reported almost flat revenues for the year ended 31 December 2016 (FY-16, current year, quarter ended 31 December 2016 – Q4-16, current quarter) as compared to the previous fiscal. Though Dish reported 2.164 million gross subscriber additions in FY-16, its net subscriber base declined by 392,000. The company closed the fourth quarter with 13.671 million pay-TV subscribers, compared to 13.897 million pay-TV subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2015. Last year the company lost approximately 81,000 pay-TV subscribers.

Dish reported revenues of $15,094.56 million in FY-16 as compared to $15,069.90 million in the previous year. Subscriber related revenue increased to $15,033.94 million in the current year from $14,953.60 million in the previous year.

Net income attributable to Dish in FY-16 was almost double (94.1 percent more) at $1,449.85 as compared to $749.09 million in FY-15. Consequently earnings per share also almost doubled (up 93.8 percent) in FY-16 at $3.12 as compared to $1.61 in the previous year.

Pay-TV average monthly subscriber churn for 2016 was 1.83 percent compared to 1.71 percent in 2015.Dish reported higher pay-TV ARPU in the current year at $88.66 as compared to $86.79 in the previous year.

Subscriber acquisition costs totalled $1.471 billion for FY-16, a decrease of $212 million or 12.6 percent compared to the same period in 2015. pay-TV SAC was $643 during FY-16 compared to $723 during the same period in 2015, a decrease of $80 or 11.1 percent. The company says  that this change was primarily attributable to an increase in Sling branded pay-TV subscriber activations and a decrease in hardware costs per activation, partially offset by an increase in advertising costs per activation. Subscriber acquisition costs for Sling branded pay-TV subscribers are significantly lower than those for DISH branded pay-TV subscribers, and therefore, the increase in Sling branded pay-TV subscriber activations during 2016 had a positive impact on pay-TV SAC.

Dish includes all of its Dish and Sling branded subscribers in the company's total pay-TV metrics, including in the pay-TV subscriber, pay-TV ARPU and pay-TV churn rate numbers. The company markets its Sling TV services primarily to consumers who do not subscribe to traditional satellite and cable pay-TV services. Sling TV services require an Internet connection and are available on multiple streaming-capable devices including TVs, tablets, computers, game consoles and smart phones.

In addition, Dish bundles broadband and telephone services with its Dish branded pay-TV services. As of December 31, 2016, it had 0.580 million broadband subscribers in the United States. Dish lost approximately 43,000 net broadband subscribers during the FY-16 compared to the addition of approximately 46,000 net broadband subscribers during the same period in 2015. The company says that the net broadband subscriber losses during FY-16 primarily resulted from lower gross new broadband subscriber activations and a higher number of customer disconnects.

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