May 7, 2020
Citing the ongoing coronavirus health care crisis, Dish Network May 7 said it lost a record 413,000 pay-TV subscribers in the first quarter (ended March 31). That included 250,000 commercial accounts the satellite TV operator suspended due to a lack of sports programming and shuttered retail establishments. Dish lost 259,000 pay-TV subs in the previous-year quarter.
Meanwhile, Dish’s pioneering online TV platform, Sling TV, ended the quarter with 2.31 million subs — down from 2.42 million subs during the previous-year period. The company closed the quarter with 11.32 million pay-TV subs, including 9.01 million Dish subs.
Net income attributable to Dish Network totaled $73 million for the quarter, compared with $340 million from the year-ago period.
“We have faced, and could continue to face, fewer subscriber activations and increased subscriber churn rate as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the worsening of the global business and economic environment,” Dish said in a statement.
The distributor said the pandemic caused “severe disruption” in certain commercial segments, including the hospitality and airline industries — both virtually shut down since March.
CEO Charlie Ergen has called for a refund from Disney-owned ESPN due to a lack of live-sports programming, among other grievances.