New subscribers for Sling TV -- the digital, live, linear TV network service -- in the third quarter grew a slim 26,000. Analysts were expecting 71,000.
“Sling net additions also came in lower-than-expected, partly because of this dispute as certain Hispanic networks were pulled from the service,” writes Kannan Venkateshwar, media analyst at Barclays Capital.
These results are in contrast to those of a year ago, when Sling TV added 236,000 in the third quarter, with subsequent quarters yielding decreasing results: 160,000 (fourth-quarter 2017); 91,000 (first-quarter 2018); and 41,000 (second-quarter 2018).
Craig Moffett, senior research analyst at MoffettNathanson Research, considered a large picture for these new digital live, linear TV network services. He saw price increases among many new digital pay TV network services, including Sling, that could be the reason for the decline. “Whatever the cause, DirecTV Now saw a sharp slowdown, and Dish Network’s SlingTV positively unraveled.”
Looking at Dish’s bigger satellite TV service, there was a drop of 367,000, while analysts were expecting a drop of 232,000. A year ago, Dish’s satellite business lost 220,000. Total pay TV subscribers for Dish -- Sling TV and Dish satellite -- are now at 12.7 million -- after a total decline of 341,000 versus the third quarter of 2017.
Overall, Dish Network’s revenue slipped 11% to $3.4 billion, but net income attributed to the company was up 45% to $432 million versus $297 million in the third quarter of 2017, due to the adoption of a new revenue recognition standard.