Dish heads into 2012 showing momentum

The satellite broadcaster takes steps to add subscribers and build a larger base to market its other products.

By Trefis Feb 27, 2012 12:35PM
Image: Watching television (© Corbis)Dish Network (DISH) released its fourth-quarter and full-year 2011 results last week, beating analyst estimates for profit. 

A few days before the release, we wrote an article regarding our expectations for Dish, stating that we expected a significant improvement in net subscriber additions for the company (see Dish Network earnings preview: what we are watching). As it turns out, Dish Network improved from a loss of 111,000 subscribers in the third quarter of 2011 to a gain of 22,000 subscribers in the fourth. 

The gains by Dish and a reduction in losses by Comcast (CMCSA) are the reasons why DirecTV's (DTV) subscriber gains dropped significantly in the fourth quarter.

Dish Network Pay TV Market Share

Although for the full year Dish still lost 166,000 subscribers, what's important is that the momentum turned positive and that bodes well for 2012. The company plans to keep prices frozen this year. While this decision could affect the growth of company's ARPU (average revenue per user) and consequently revenues, it will help it sustain subscriber momentum and build a larger base that it can leverage for marketing other products. These other products include Blockbuster movie rental service and recently launched broadband service in partnership with ViaSat.


Dish will be closing 500 additional Blockbuster stores that are making losses. This will help the company optimize its movie-rental business and improve margins. Furthermore, even though the pay-TV market in the U.S. is getting saturated, Dish plans to focus on Hispanic customers as well as the business-to-business segment for incremental growth.


We are in process of updating our valuation model for Dish Network in light of recent earnings results.


See our complete analysis for Dish Network.

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