This story was written by Joseph Weisenthal.
Satellite TV operators DISH said it lost 25,000 subscribers in Q2, citing heavy competition, the growth of fiber-based TV and the weak economy. Revenue still managed to increase 5.6 percent to $2.91 billion. Despite the dip this quarter, total subscribers were up 1.5 percent from last year to 13.79 million. As the result of lower costs, new income grew 50 percent to $335.8 million ($.73 per share) from $224.2 million ($.50 per share). While ARPU did grow 5 percent to $69.38, the company spent $699 to acquire each customer, an 8.4 increase from the year-ago quarter.
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Meanwhile, the numbers look a bit brighter for sister co. EchoStar (NSDQ: DISH), although ultimately its fortune is still very much tied to DISH. The maker of set-top boxes, including the Slingbox, reported Q2 revenue up 46.2 percent to $483 million. A major chunk of this, however, was $93 million in various services provided to DISH which didn't exist in the year ago quarter (prior to the spin). The company earned a profit of $47.8 million ($.53 per share) compared to a loss of $14.8 million ($.16 per share). The company would have been in losses had it not been for various securities gains. Excluding these gains, net loss for the quarter would have been $4.8 million. It will probably take a full year post-separation to get good, clean comparable results.
While the company warns that it remains highly dependent on DISH (with its struggling subscriber rolls), it notes that in the intermediate term, it could benefit as more subscribers upgrade to HD services.
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By Joseph Weisenthal