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Dish and Other Pay-TV Rivals Continue to Lose Subscribers

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Dish Network is losing pay-TV subscribers

Dish Network (DISH) has lost pay-TV subscribers for the past five consecutive quarters due to declining demand for subscription TV packages as a result of cord cutting. In the first quarter of 2019, Dish lost 259,000 net pay-TV subscribers (including a loss of ~266,000 net DISH TV satellite subscribers offset by the addition of roughly 7,000 net Sling TV subscribers), worse than analysts’ expectation of a loss of 242,000 subscribers. Its losses in the first quarter more than doubled compared to the previous year’s quarter. In the first quarter of 2018, Dish posted a loss of 94,000 pay-TV subscribers.

At the end of the first quarter, Dish Network had 12.06 million net pay-TV subscribers, down from ~13.32 million in the fourth quarter.

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Cord cutting is hurting Dish’s pay-TV customer base

Cord cutting is significantly denting the pay-TV subscriber growth of traditional cable companies, including Dish, Comcast (CMCSA), and Charter Communications (CHTR), as consumers move away from satellite broadcast packages and shift to fast-growing over-the-top online video streaming services provided by streaming giants such as Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Comcast lost 107,000 residential video customers in the first quarter of 2019 compared to 93,000 in the previous year’s quarter, whereas Charter lost 145,000 video customers in the first quarter of 2019 in comparison to the previous year’s customer losses of 111,000. Telecommunications rival Frontier (FTR) also saw video customer losses of 54,000 in the first quarter of 2019. Verizon and AT&T (T), the top two biggest US wireless carriers, also reported video customer losses in their recently reported first quarters.

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