WASHINGTON (AP) — Dish Network is losing TV customers, even with its new online video service, Sling TV, that’s aimed at millennials who don’t want traditional TV service.
The satellite TV operator said Wednesday that it lost 81,000 TV subscribers overall in the April-June quarter. Sling TV launched in February, and had added 169,000 customers in the first quarter, while satellite TV subscribers dropped by 134,000.
Dish did not break out Sling versus satellite TV customers for the second quarter.
Dish also said Wednesday in a regulatory filing that it expects to lose a $3.3 billion discount from the Federal Communications Commission spectrum auction that ended earlier this year, in which it bid $10 billion for wireless airwaves through two companies it had invested in.
That discount is designed for certain small businesses.
The spectrum gives companies more capacity for wireless services. Dish has stockpiled spectrum for years but doesn’t offer any cellphone service. However, it had reportedly been in negotiations to buy wireless carrier T-Mobile.
Dish Chairman and CEO Charlie Ergen suggested Wednesday that the prospect of losing that discount had put a roadblock in talks with T-Mobile. Asked if being able to keep the $3.3 billion would make Dish “much closer to owning T-Mobile today,” Dish Chairman and CEO Ergen said that “the discount was the most complicating factor.”
The Englewood, Colorado, company said Wednesday that second-quarter profit rose 52 percent, thanks to higher programming package prices and customer pay-per-view orders for a big boxing match. Profit came to $324.4 million, or 70 cents per share. The average estimate of nine analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 46 cents per share.
Revenue grew 3.9 percent to $3.83 billion, topping Wall Street’s estimate of $3.79 billion.
Shares of Dish Network Corp. added 3.7 percent to $67.83 in afternoon trading. Dish shares had decreased 10 percent since the beginning of the year.
By Tali Arbel, AP Writer
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