Dish Network reported today that its net video subscriber loss came in at 413,000, compared to a decrease of 259,000 for the previous quarter. The loss included 132,000 satellite TV customer losses and 281,000 Sling TV subscriber losses.
“The COVID-19 pandemic caused severe disruption in certain commercial segments served by Dish, including the hospitality and airline industries,” the company said of the drop.
Dish said that its efforts to provide relief to customers during the pandemic led to a larger than normal decline. “In an effort to avoid charging commercial customers for services that were no longer being viewed by their customers, DISH paused service or provided temporary rate relief for certain of those commercial accounts,” the company noted in a report this morning.
Dish went on to say that it expected some of the account on temporary pause to disconnect completely. If those customers reconnect, they will not be counted as new customers for the period when they return.
Competition was another factor in subscriber loss. Cable subscribers are switching services to take advantage of new customer deals, while Sling TV faces increased competition in the streaming space.
In a full report this morning, the company also pointed to AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner and Disney’s acquisition of Fox as potentially adversely affecting Dish by making it more difficult for Dish to carry certain programming. A&T in particular was called out for sending “written, irrevocable offers to submit disputes over the price and other terms of Turner programming” during an arbitration period. AT&T then removed non-Turner channels HBO and Cinemax from Dish and Sling TV, with Dish saying “we and AT&T have been unable to negotiate the terms and conditions of a new programming carriage contract.”
Dish ended the first quarter with 11.32 million pay TV subscribers, made up of 9.01 million Dish TV subscribers and 2.31 million Sling TV subscribers.
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