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Dish Network 3rd-quarter profit slides 54 percent


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#1 OFFLINE   DtvSlave

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Posted 10 November 2008 - 09:20 AM

Dish Network Corp., the nation's second-largest satellite TV provider, on Monday reported a 54 percent drop in third-quarter net income as it spent more on promotions to keep customers from canceling and wrote down the value of its investments.

For only the second time in Dish's history, the company saw a decline in net new subscribers - the number of customers who sign up minus those who cancel. It lost 10,000 net subscribers in the quarter compared with a gain of 110,000 in the same quarter last year.

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#2 OFFLINE   BillJ

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Posted 10 November 2008 - 09:28 AM

Dish Network Corp., the nation's second-largest satellite TV provider, on Monday reported a 54 percent drop in third-quarter net income as it spent more on promotions to keep customers from canceling and wrote down the value of its investments.

For only the second time in Dish's history, the company saw a decline in net new subscribers - the number of customers who sign up minus those who cancel. It lost 10,000 net subscribers in the quarter compared with a gain of 110,000 in the same quarter last year.



Subscriber loss may be a function of the economy. People are looking for ways to cut expenses. At the same time companys like Comcast are offering bundled deals for TV, phone and internet at very low prices, at least initially. Even Verizon is a player where they have FIOS service.

#3 OFFLINE   Bill R

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Posted 10 November 2008 - 09:51 AM

SOME of DISH's customer losses are not due to the economy. I know half a dozen customers that have left in what only can be described as due to "piss poor customer service". DISH's overseas call centers are atrocious. They need to be shut down and the U.S. call centers need to overhauled if DISH has any chance at all to keep up with DirecTV and cable companies.

Lack of HD locals has been a real problem with potential DISH customers but, hopefully, that will be fixed soon.
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#4 OFFLINE   inazsully

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Posted 10 November 2008 - 09:59 AM

Subscriber loss may be a function of the economy. People are looking for ways to cut expenses. At the same time companys like Comcast are offering bundled deals for TV, phone and internet at very low prices, at least initially. Even Verizon is a player where they have FIOS service.


As a 2 month subscriber that switched over from "D" I must say I am a bit dismayed with the amount of video pixilation and sound drop with my 722. That and the missing HD channels that I gave up with "D".

#5 OFFLINE   peano

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Posted 10 November 2008 - 10:28 AM

Audio drop outs, pixellating HD, dropping of VOOM and lack of new channels has made up my mind. Bye Charlie.

#6 OFFLINE   paja

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Posted 10 November 2008 - 10:28 AM

Subscriber loss may be a function of the economy. People are looking for ways to cut expenses. At the same time companys like Comcast are offering bundled deals for TV, phone and internet at very low prices, at least initially. Even Verizon is a player where they have FIOS service.


When I had DISH(for tv-everything package), Comcrap(for internet), and AT&T for phone, I was paying 250 amonth. Now with U-verse, my bill is 182. But for the 1st year, 14 off a month, another 20 off for 6 months, 3 free months hd and cash back. Yes, I just got 2 checks from AT&T for 100 and one for 40. Also NO CONTRACT and an outstanding hd dvr which is running 4 televisions. On top of all that csr's I can understand and excellent service.

#7 OFFLINE   projectorguru

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Posted 10 November 2008 - 10:44 AM

I'm actually suprised by the numbers, I figured at least a 75% decline, 54% ain't bad
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#8 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 10 November 2008 - 12:00 PM

Actually, compared to the same quarter in 2007 Dish Network's net income dropped to $91,895,000 from $199,680,00. "Other" expenses increased to $106,055,000 from $6,124,000.

The increase in other expenses "resulted from the $156 million impairment of marketable and non-marketable investment securities, partially offset by a $53 million gain on the sale of a non-marketable investment during the third quarter of 2008." In other words, Dish Network's investment portfolio had dropped that much and they chose to write down those investments. That was before the October crash.

Dish Network's reported Operating Income increased 5.4% over the same quarter last year and 31% over the 3 months ending in September between the years. However, this year-to-year comparison is suspect in my mind because of the corporate split.

Ironically, what's not really clear from the quarterly is that operating income dropped 33% compared to the quarter ending in June, but is only 17% under the quarter ending in March.

The balance sheet changes are weird, some of which relate to the company split. But Cash and cash equivalents fell 28% between June and September and we have this note:

Liquidity Considerations. As of September 30, 2008, we had $972 million of cash and cash equivalents and $461 million of current marketable investment securities. On October 1, 2008, we redeemed the remaining balance of $972 million of our 5 3 / 4 % Senior Notes due 2008, with existing cash and cash equivalents and current marketable investment securities. We expect that our future working capital, capital expenditure and debt service requirements will be satisfied from existing cash and marketable investment securities balances, cash generated from operations or through new additional capital. However, current dislocations in the credit markets, which have significantly impacted the availability and pricing of financing, particularly in the high yield debt and leveraged credit markets, may significantly constrain our ability to obtain financing to fund our working capital, capital expenditure and debt service requirements and support our growth initiatives. These developments in the credit markets may have a significant effect on our cost of financing and our liquidity position and may, as a result, also cause us to defer or abandon profitable new business strategies that we would otherwise pursue if financing were available on acceptable terms.

Maybe I don't understand this note, but how I read it is that Dish Network's Cash and cash equivalents plus marketable investment securities were reduced by 68% the day after the quarterly close and the company's ability to get credit is in the crapper.:eek2:

EDIT: What I'm hoping here is that they sold all their marketable securities on October 1 to redeem those senior notes. Otherwise Dish's liquidity is currently near zero.

#9 OFFLINE   Paul Secic

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Posted 10 November 2008 - 01:30 PM

Audio drop outs, pixellating HD, dropping of VOOM and lack of new channels has made up my mind. Bye Charlie.


+1. I''m switching to U-verse in two weeks.

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#10 OFFLINE   BattleZone

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Posted 10 November 2008 - 01:41 PM

Dish has a number of things working against it, from the perspective of a potential new customer:

- Dish's horrible marketing, which makes it look like a second-rate product, even though the product is quite good in reality. DirecTV has "real" celebs endorsing DirecTV; Dish has a fairly unknown comic impersonating celebs. Huge perception gap there. DirecTV sponsors lots of TV shows, sports events, and so on. Dish, not much. Those things, right or wrong, play a big part in how potential customers perceive the two companies. The ads also don't talk about Dish's technology, except "better than TiVo", which IMO is too general, or their programming strengths (movie channels).

- Dish's 4-TV lease limitation means that virtually all of the bigger customers, who tend to be higher-end customers, go to DirecTV or stay with cable (or FiOS, if available). It limits Dish to low-to-middle customers, which further hurts its perception by potential customers.

- Dish's 2-room HD receivers can't deliver HD to both rooms. While there are very real technical reasons for this, the bottom line is that more and more folks are getting multiple HDTVs, and having TV2 limited to SD is getting less and less acceptable.

- Sports. Not much to say here; DirecTV owns sports fans.

- Constant loss of channels and/or lack of growth due to the inability to negotiate with providers. No one has this problem to the extent that Dish has, and it seems to be getting worse instead of better. Taking stuff away from a paying customer is only going to anger them, and Dish just doesn't seem to appreciate how angry their customers get.

- Monthly pricing. Dish advertises a low price, which gets customers interested, but when you start adding all the extra fees, especially the fee for locals and for each DVR, Dish is no longer the bargain it appears to be, and so lots of customers walk away. This isn't 2000; folks expect locals on their satellite today, so not including them in the advertised price doesn't make sense.

- Foreign CSRs. Half of the customers I deal with mention how much they hate talking to non-US call centers. Their orders are frequently wrong, or they get so frustrated with the language barrier that they insist on a tech roll for something that would be easily fixed over the phone.

All TV providers have their problems, but Dish has far too many, and they don't seem to be doing anything about them, and if that lasts too long, they're going to be in big trouble. As a Dish installation subcontractor, that's a big concern for me.

#11 OFFLINE   jacmyoung

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Posted 10 November 2008 - 01:53 PM

Agree with much said by IIP.

E* added 875,000 new subs, that is not bad at all, but the churn is killing them. People like me who moved to D* due to the HD war, and the limitation on the leased DVRs, and per DVR fee, they can be easily retained by matching other companies' channels and fees.

#12 OFFLINE   ruffledrooster

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Posted 10 November 2008 - 02:05 PM

I'll 3rd that...I currently have Uverse running alongside my dish service(I work for AT&T, so it's a nice discount) and I must say, lately I have been thinking more and more of switching over completely. With Uverse I get all of my locals in HD, they now have more HD than dish(give or take a few odd channels), and their service so far has been top notch. And no, I'm not just saying this because I work for them...I am actually one of the pickiest and demanding consumers you will find. Uverse' US customer support and the fact that they have a simple portfolio of services is really nice and refreshing...yet when I look at my dish bill I'm left scratching my head.
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#13 OFFLINE   dennispap

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Posted 10 November 2008 - 02:09 PM

Subscriber loss may be a function of the economy. People are looking for ways to cut expenses. At the same time companys like Comcast are offering bundled deals for TV, phone and internet at very low prices, at least initially. Even Verizon is a player where they have FIOS service.

Yes but directv had a 156,000 gain in subs so you cant really blame the economy.
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#14 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 10 November 2008 - 02:41 PM

Yes but directv had a 156,000 gain in subs so you cant really blame the economy.
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People forget that DirecTV lost 846 THOUSAND customers last quarter. The gain of a million helped balance that out to a net gain, but DirecTV's gross gain was DOWN 2.9% over last year (despite their HD packages, sports packages and promos) and their net gain was DOWN 35%.

DISH Network added 825 thousand subscribers ... and lost 835. Once again DirecTV lost more subscribers than DISH Network in a quarter. The key being how many new subscribers they attracted to replace the lost. DirecTV managed to attract just over a million new customers, DISH managed to attract just over 800 thousand.

Hopefully DISH can turn this around quickly and get back to net gains. It has been a bad year. But not just a bad year for DISH.

#15 OFFLINE   BattleZone

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Posted 10 November 2008 - 03:03 PM

Part of the reason that DirecTV's growth is down is that in many areas of the country, new installations are backlogged 6-8 weeks, which means many of those customers refuse to wait and either don't switch, or switch to a competitor. If they were able to get to those installs in 3-5 days, they'd be growing much faster.

(The reason for the backlog is primarily DirecTV's poor pay and treatment of their installers, mostly due to their HSP program, but that's another discussion altogether.)

Also, last year DirecTV had record growth, with a huge push for their HD. There is less that is new or "up and coming" this year, and more HD choices for new customers. DirecTV still did quite well. Dish continues to do badly, and I haven't seen any indications that they are working to fix any of their issues. I'm being forced to move my company across the country because there is so little Dish work here; it's so bad in California that most subs only get work on the weekends now.

#16 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 10 November 2008 - 03:57 PM

The crux of Dish's problem, and the problem of most other companies of its type, can be found in this note:

We invest significant amounts in subscriber acquisition and retention programs based on our expectation that long-term subscribers will be profitable. To attract subscribers, we subsidize the cost of equipment and installation and may also from time to time offer promotional pricing on programming and other services. We also seek to differentiate DISH Network through the quality of the equipment we provide to our subscribers, including our highly-rated digital video recorder (“DVR”) and high definition (“HD”) equipment, which we promote to drive subscriber growth and retention. Subscriber growth is also impacted, positively and negatively, by customer service and customer experience in ordering, installation and troubleshooting interactions.

...Furthermore, we have made and we will continue to make material investments in staffing, training, information systems, and other initiatives, primarily in our call center and in-home service businesses. These investments are intended to help combat inefficiencies introduced by the increasing complexity of our business and technology, improve customer satisfaction, reduce churn, increase productivity, and allow us to scale better over the long run. We cannot, however, be certain that our increased spending will ultimately be successful in yielding such returns. In the meantime, we may continue to incur higher costs as a result of both our operational inefficiencies and increased spending.


Dish management may think the problem is "inefficiencies and increased spending" and shareholders and analysts probably buy that spin. But in my opinion Dish Network's problem is ineffectiveness and inadequate spending.

Then there's this note:

Our ability to increase our income or to generate additional revenues will depend in part on our ability to identify and successfully exploit opportunities to acquire other businesses or technologies, enter into strategic partnerships and organically grow our business, including through the development of the 700MHz spectrum that we recently purchased. These activities may require significant additional capital that may not be available on terms that would be attractive to us or at all. In particular, current dislocations in the credit markets, which have significantly impacted the availability and cost of financing, specifically in the leveraged finance markets, may significantly constrain our ability to obtain financing to support our growth initiatives. These developments in the credit markets may increase our cost of financing and impair our liquidity position. In addition, these developments may cause us to defer or abandon new business strategies and transactions that we would otherwise pursue if financing were available on acceptable terms.


Yeah, one way "to increase our income or to generate additional revenues will depend in part on our ability to identify and successfully exploit opportunities to acquire other businesses or technologies." Another way would be to provide better customer service and more content. And, of course, don't add new technologies until the old ones actually work.

How about focusing on retaining trained call center employees in the U.S. and completing negotiations with content providers which could be reflected in more channels?

Finally, what the heck does this mean?

Furthermore, adverse economic conditions, including further deterioration in the credit and equity markets or wavering consumer confidence, could affect consumer demand for pay-TV services as consumers may delay purchasing decisions or reduce or reallocate discretionary spending. In addition, if we are unable to effectively scale in order to provide advanced customer premises equipment and programming offerings, we may have to devote substantial resources towards these internal initiatives rather than strategic and organic growth initiatives which could ultimately harm our business, financial condition and results of operations.


What the heck does "if we are unable to effectively scale in order to provide advanced customer premises equipment and programming offerings, we may have to devote substantial resources towards these internal initiatives" mean? It sounds like it is saying "because we can't get and retain enough customers, we might actually have to spend more money on programming and making equipment work increasing our per customer cost, and we don't want that!" They want to avoid that and spend money on "strategic and organic growth initiatives which could ultimately harm our business, financial condition and results of operations." Well they inadvertently got that right!:rolleyes:

#17 OFFLINE   lee635

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Posted 10 November 2008 - 04:56 PM

I try to not get too jazzed up about another quarterly report. Maybe if someone wants to take the last 4 or 6 quarterly reports and compile the numbers --- that would be much more telling than a single quarterly report. JMHO
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#18 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 10 November 2008 - 05:22 PM

I try to not get too jazzed up about another quarterly report. Maybe if someone wants to take the last 4 or 6 quarterly reports and compile the numbers --- that would be much more telling than a single quarterly report. JMHO

I agree. But Dish Network has only been in existence as a company separate from Echostar for three quarters, and not very inspiring quarters at that.:eek2:

#19 OFFLINE   RAD

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Posted 10 November 2008 - 05:25 PM

I agree. But Dish Network has only been in existence as a company separate from Echostar for three quarters, and not very inspiring quarters at that.:eek2:


Looks like Echostar isn't doing that good either, from http://www.marketwat...5-DB4CB9AA603C}

"EchoStar reported net loss of $308 million for the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2008, compared with net loss of $7 million during the corresponding period in 2007. The $301 million increase in net loss primarily related to unrealized losses and impairments on marketable and non-marketable securities. Basic loss per share was $3.43 for the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2008, compared with a basic loss per share of $0.07 during the corresponding period in 2007. "

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#20 OFFLINE   Michael P

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Posted 10 November 2008 - 05:31 PM

I'll 3rd that...I currently have Uverse running alongside my dish service(I work for AT&T, so it's a nice discount) and I must say, lately I have been thinking more and more of switching over completely. With Uverse I get all of my locals in HD, they now have more HD than dish(give or take a few odd channels), and their service so far has been top notch. And no, I'm not just saying this because I work for them...I am actually one of the pickiest and demanding consumers you will find. Uverse' US customer support and the fact that they have a simple portfolio of services is really nice and refreshing...yet when I look at my dish bill I'm left scratching my head.

Since you have Uverse can you confirm or dispel the rumor I heard that you can only watch or record one HD channel at a time? When they advertize the ability to record up to 4 PROGRAMS at the same time on one DVR, they never mention HD.
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