Dish Network Corporation lost 94,000 net subscribers in the first quarter, ended March 31, leaving 13.584 million with the satellite TV company. That’s a loss of 1.7 percent from a year ago.
But as part of a highly competitive industry, Dish is one of the few paid-TV companies that lost subscribers during the quarter. Comcast Corp., a cable TV provider on the East Coast, also lost customers. Here in Orange County, Verizon’s FiOS, AT&T’s U-verse, DirecTV and Time Warner Cable all gained customers in the first quarter.
Dish cited many of the usual reasons for the declines, including the nation’s weak economy, slowdown in paid-TV growth and competition from Internet and fiber-based TV services. But Dish also blamed some other unique events for its losses, according to its SEC filing.
“We have not always met our own standards for performing high quality installations, effectively resolving customer issues when they arise, answering customer calls in an acceptable timeframe, effectively communicating with our subscriber base, reducing calls driven by the complexity of our business, improving the reliability of certain systems and subscriber equipment, and aligning the interests of certain third party retailers and installers to provide high quality service.”
Wow, I didn’t know companies actually admitted stuff like this.
The good news for current customers is that Dish says it is taking responsibility and spending money to fix everything. It’s upgrading customers to HD equipment, offering Slingbox’s place-shifting technology, and investing in customer service. The bad news for investors, said the company, is that these expenses will hurt margins and the company will make less money. Also, there’s no guarantee that these investments will pay off, but the company believes they will.
For the quarter, Dish reported $313 million in net income on $2.91 billion in revenues. That’s up from the same period a year earlier of $259 million income on $2.84 billion in revenues.
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