Against what its main competitor reported earlier in the week, Dish Network Corp. had a net loss of subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2009. Dish fell back 156,000 subscribers, giving the company 14.1 million overall. For the year, however, the satellite TV program retailer is up slightly, adding 33,000 customers.
Competitor DirecTV posted strong gains for its fourth quarter.
Analysts says Dish, which targets lower-end TV customers, has been hit by the economic downturn. It has been adding subscribers for five straight quarters before starting to lose them in the second quarter of this year.
For 4Q in 2010, revenue improved 8.2% to $3.21 billion. Net income attributable to shareholders climbed 41% to $252 million.
For the entire year in 2010, Dish revenue rose 8.4% to $12.6 billion versus $11.7 billion, with net income attributable to shareholders rising to $985 million versus $636 million.
Earlier this month, a U.S. District Court sided with Dish in its long-running legal case against TiVo, in which the company has claimed copyright infringement. A trial is forthcoming.
Former subsidiary company EchoStar -- the maker of set-top boxes that was spun off from Dish at the beginning of 2008 -- posted a profit of $169 million from a year-earlier loss of $30 million. Revenue dropped 8% to $513 million.
Midday trading of Dish stock was down 2% to $22.42 a share, while EchoStar was up 1.5% to $31.92.