Dish unexpectedly adds pay-TV customers in fourth quarter

Dish Network added new pay-TV customers in the fourth quarter, defying expectations for further corrosion in its subscribers as people increasingly watch shows on streaming services such as Netflix.

The pay-TV group controlled by satellite billionaire Charlie Ergen said it added 28,000 customers in the three months to the end of December, beating consensus forecasts for a loss of 87,000. The company lost 116,000 customers in the previous quarter.

Dish also surpassed forecasts for profits, earning net income of $343m, or 70 cents a share, compared to projections of 67 cents a share, and after posting a loss of 27 cents a share a year ago.

Dish, which has nearly 14m pay-TV customers, has looked to diversify from its declining satellite business, launching a cheaper streaming service, Sling TV, to compete with the likes of Netflix.

The group has also bought up a trove of wireless airwaves, used to connected mobile phones, as part of its diversification strategy, in anticipation of an explosion in mobile video watching. The company has been rumoured as candidate for dealmaking with US telecoms groups under a more lenient Trump regulatory regime.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved. You may share using our article tools. Please don't copy articles from FT.com and redistribute by email or post to the web.