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DISH Network Reports First Quarter 2009 Financial Results


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#1 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 11 May 2009 - 05:22 AM

ENGLEWOOD, Colo., May 11, 2009 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX News Network/ -- DISH Network Corporation (Nasdaq: DISH) today reported total revenue of $2.91 billion for the quarter ended March 31, 2009, a 2.1 percent increase compared with $2.84 billion for the corresponding period in 2008.

Net income totaled $313 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2009, compared with $259 million during the corresponding period in 2008. Basic earnings per share were $0.70 for the quarter ended March 31, 2009, compared with basic earnings per share of $0.58 during the corresponding period in 2008.

DISH Network lost approximately 94,000 net subscribers during the quarter ended March 31, 2009, giving the company approximately 13.584 million subscribers as of that date.

Detailed financial data and other information are available in DISH Network's Form 10-Q for the quarterly period ended March 31, 2009, filed today with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

source

SEC Filing

Edited by James Long, 11 May 2009 - 05:30 AM.
Added SEC Filing


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#2 OFFLINE   jclewter79

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Posted 11 May 2009 - 05:39 AM

Well. the net loss was less than some expected. Still making money though. I think dish will start gaining customers again this year. I think things are begining to look brighter.
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#3 OFFLINE   DodgerKing

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Posted 11 May 2009 - 07:16 AM

Sub loss and profit are correlated. When they add subs their profits will go down due to increase setup costs (installation and equipment, ex). When they lose subs their profits will go up. Of course there is limit. If subs decrease too much then they will not have enough subs to make a profit.

Once Dish starts gaining subs again, which they will, their profits will go down as result, especially if they increase advertising in order to sell their product.

#4 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 11 May 2009 - 07:30 AM

At first glance, this 10-Q is a puzzle to me. Dish shows a significant improvement in cash and equivalents, and in current assets less current liabilities. This is very good if it represents a trend.

Also, somehow the subscriber acquisition costs which were shown at $720 per subscriber in the 2008 10-K (annual report), and were shown as $709 for the first quarter 2008 and $663 for the first quarter 2007, have dropped to $659 for this 1st quarter. The explanation was as follows:

Subscriber acquisition costs. “Subscriber acquisition costs” totaled $292 million for the three months ended March 31, 2009, a decrease of $83 million or 22.1% compared to the same period in 2008. This decrease was primarily attributable to the decline in gross new subscribers and the decrease in SAC discussed below.

SAC. SAC was $659 during the three months ended March 31, 2009 compared to $709 during the same period in 2008, a decrease of $50, or 7.1%. This decrease was primarily attributable to a shift in the mix of sales from independent retailers to direct sales which resulted in lower incentives paid. In addition, we spent less in advertising costs per subscriber acquisition during the period. The increase in deployment of more advanced set-top boxes, such as HD receivers and HD DVRs, was in large part offset by lower hardware costs for the same receiver model.


Finally, Echostar's 10-Q shows a net loss of $645,000 compared to a net profit of $5,701,000 in the 1st quarter of 2008.

I'm not sure I'll figure out what all this means.:confused:

#5 OFFLINE   BattleZone

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Posted 11 May 2009 - 08:51 AM

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Sat companies initially lose money when they sign up a new customer. Between the hardware, labor, and in many cases the sales commission paid for a new customer, it's going to take almost a year before money is being made (there are still operating costs and fees to the content providers too). But once you've got those customers, you know you'll be making money in the second year, and you hope that they'll like your service and stay with you for a long time. That's where the real money is made.

So, by not spending a lot to install new customers, you can get a bump on your short-term profits, but long-term revenue takes a big hit, and that's more important to the long-term health of the company. That's why net subscriber growth has always been seen as the most important metric in the sat TV business.

#6 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 11 May 2009 - 09:46 AM

It's a little hard to understand why Dish spent less on advertising in this quarter when they took a net subscriber loss in the last quarter.

And this statement is potentially problematic: "The increase in deployment of more advanced set-top boxes, such as HD receivers and HD DVRs, was in large part offset by lower hardware costs for the same receiver model." Since each time I got a 722 it took them two tries to get me one that worked, lower hardware costs to me means "too cheap."

And then there's this "acknowledgment" that first appeared in the 2008 10-K:

We have not always met our own standards for performing high quality installations, effectively resolving customer issues when they arise, answering customer calls in an acceptable timeframe, effectively communicating with our subscriber base, reducing calls driven by the complexity of our business, improving the reliability of certain systems and subscriber equipment, and aligning the interests of certain third party retailers and installers to provide high quality service.

The problem is addressed as follows:

To address our operational inefficiency, we continue to make significant 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, 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.

I have a problem with the term "operational inefficiencies" used in this context. We know that Charlie & Companies intend to promote the ViP922 as the best technological solution for audio/video distribution within your home and wherever you travel. We know that, except for tech nerds like us who hang out on the web in forums like this, Sling technology coupled with a ViP HD DVR is going to require significant user support to be successful. If the objective is for Dish to make significant inroads into the market using technology innovation, the wording should be "we expect to create even more operational inefficiencies in the near future by increasing per subscriber support costs for newer technology which will not necessarily result in greater customer satisfaction with customer service."

When I read on another thread that there are indications that the 922 may be first offered to new customers, all I could think is "Are they going to hire a tech support person for each box sent out?"

But what do I know? I have trouble reconciling the inherent conflicts in the stated business strategy:

Our business strategy is to be the best provider of video services in the United States by providing high-quality products, outstanding customer service, and great value.

  • High-Quality Products. We offer a wide selection of local and national programming, featuring more national and local HD channels than most pay-TV providers and the only HD-only programming packages currently available in the industry. We have been a technology leader in our industry, introducing award-winning DVRs, dual tuner receivers, 1080p video on demand, and external hard drives. We plan to leverage Slingbox “placeshifting” technology and other technologies to maintain and improve our competitiveness in the future.
  • Outstanding Customer Service. We strive to provide outstanding customer service by improving the quality of the initial installation of subscriber equipment, improving the reliability of our equipment, better educating our customers about our products and services, and resolving customer problems promptly and effectively when they do arise.
  • Great Value. We have historically been viewed as the low-cost provider in the pay-TV industry because we offer the lowest everyday prices available to consumers after introductory promotions expire. We believe that a key factor to being a value leader in the industry is our low cost structure which is an asset we continuously strive to maintain.


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#7 OFFLINE   Hound

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Posted 11 May 2009 - 10:38 AM

1. D* 460
2. Verizon 299
3. ATT 284
4. Time Warner 36
5. Charter -22
6. Cablevision -23
7. Comcast -78
8. E* -94

E* has joined Comcast in the diminishing returns club.
The only revenue growth is rate increases. But can't
Raise rates and keep subs.
So why is E* at the bottom of the list?

1. In a four flavor market like I live in. E* has
The least attractive package comparing
Price and available channels. I can confirm
This because I sub to all four and my friends
And neighbors confirm. No deal with YES pooh
Poohed. The cumulative effect of YES, EI,
MLBN, $5 for locals, loss of Voom, HD RSNs
And cable competition show up in these
Numbers. E* is no longer the lower
Cost alternative to cable. Potential
New subs do not understand why there
Is a $5 charge for locals and only four
Locals are in HD or some markets
Not at all.

#8 OFFLINE   BattleZone

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Posted 11 May 2009 - 12:03 PM

When I read on another thread that there are indications that the 922 may be first offered to new customers, all I could think is "Are they going to hire a tech support person for each box sent out?"


Despite what has been talked about here, the 922 is NOT going to be the mainstream HD-DVR; that will remain the 722. The 922 going to be a premium option (and priced as such) for folks who want it, most of whom will be existing customers. That's going to keep it in the domain of enthusiests, at least for a while, which is good considering that such an advanced, feature-filled box is likely to have a bumpy start with regards to firmware. Both sat companies still have firmware issues as they add new features to their 2+ year old HD-DVRs, so we can only imagine what the added complexity will bring.

Don't get me wrong; the 922 is IMPORTANT, and should be very well received, but Dish is going to need to make it easy for their high-end, high revenue customers to get one. Even if it has to be purchased outright with no lease discount, it is important that people who want one can get one with minimum fuss from the CSRs.

There's no question, though, that the 2-room receivers greatly complicate the install and usability for the customer. We almost never get a call from a 311, 211, or 612 customer about how to hook up the receiver to their new TV or how to get it on the right input. But for the Duo receivers, I get 5-10 calls a week from customers wanting help connecting a new TV2. 80% of the time, that's going to be an older TV, the factory remote is long-gone, and the TV will be set to CH3 or CH4 only. That means we have to try to walk the customer through programming the TV's tuner to be able to tune in either UHF-60 or cable CH73. Every model of TV has a different menu system, and using the buttons on the front of the TV is very frustrating (the manufacturer intended the customer to use the factory remote, which the customer never has). And about 10% of the time, one or more of the front-panel buttons is broken or missing. As you can guess, from the customer's point of view, it's always MY fault that this isn't "simple." Let's not even talk about if there is a language barrier; then it just becomes impossible.

The Duo receiver is a nice concept, but it adds a huge amount of servicing overhead at many levels that Dish's competitors don't have to deal with. I'm not sure that the hardware savings is worth it, especially now that more and more TVs need their own HD receiver.

Edited by BattleZone, 11 May 2009 - 12:10 PM.


#9 OFFLINE   BattleZone

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Posted 11 May 2009 - 12:09 PM

Potential
New subs do not understand why there
Is a $5 charge for locals and only four
Locals are in HD or some markets
Not at all.


A long time ago, when most people couldn't get locals over sat, it made sense not to include locals in the package, but today, they absolutely should be included (with an opt-out savings option), because every other service includes them in the base price. While it makes the advertised package look cheaper at first glance, that doesn't make up for the confusion and anger when customers learn that they have to pay extra to get locals that they assume are already included. IMO, since virtually everyone wants locals, it's better to offer the true price upfront. Most customers prefer the honesty, and it makes it easier for them to compare rates.

#10 OFFLINE   Stewart Vernon

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Posted 11 May 2009 - 12:23 PM

Once again, if we compare numbers...

We see that Dish lost almost 750,000 subscribers while DirecTV lost around 715,000 in the same quarter.

So the REAL problem at Dish is in adding new subscribers. People who say that DirecTV=better because they had net subscriber additions are ignoring the obvious fact that an almost equal number of existing subscribers last quarter were as displeased with DirecTV as they were with Dish!

IF DirecTV were all that + chips, then people wouldn't be leaving in droves from them too... People like to point at lots of points like channels Dish doesn't have, or sports packages, or whatever... to say why so many are leaving Dish... but no one asks why the same amount of people are leaving DirecTV who supposedly has all the things Dish doesn't!

I, for one, conclude for several quarters now... that DirecTV is MUCH better at adding subscribers than Dish is... but once they get the customers, they are clearly no better at keeping them than Dish... which leads me to believe their marketing spin machine in overdrive is leading more people to higher expectations with DirecTV than Dish... BUT clearly those people are changing their minds once they sign up and see reality is not that different at either company.

Lesson learned... Dish needs to improve new customer acquisition if they want to stem the tide of perception... but the reality is once you get past the marketing advantage of DirecTV, everything else must be pretty equal.

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#11 OFFLINE   paja

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Posted 11 May 2009 - 12:51 PM

The end of the partnership with AT&T will no doubt cause mean less new subs for DISH, more for D. DISH also has to compete with FIOS or U-verse in many areas, not just D. Since U-verse came to my area, in my block alone 4 homes dumped DISH(including me) and 1 dumped D for U.

#12 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 11 May 2009 - 01:08 PM

Despite what has been talked about here, the 922 is NOT going to be the mainstream HD-DVR; that will remain the 722. The 922 going to be a premium option (and priced as such) for folks who want it, most of whom will be existing customers. That's going to keep it in the domain of enthusiests, at least for a while, which is good considering that such an advanced, feature-filled box is likely to have a bumpy start with regards to firmware. Both sat companies still have firmware issues as they add new features to their 2+ year old HD-DVRs, so we can only imagine what the added complexity will bring.

Don't get me wrong; the 922 is IMPORTANT, and should be very well received, but Dish is going to need to make it easy for their high-end, high revenue customers to get one. Even if it has to be purchased outright with no lease discount, it is important that people who want one can get one with minimum fuss from the CSRs.

There's no question, though, that the 2-room receivers greatly complicate the install and usability for the customer. We almost never get a call from a 311, 211, or 612 customer about how to hook up the receiver to their new TV or how to get it on the right input. But for the Duo receivers, I get 5-10 calls a week from customers wanting help connecting a new TV2. 80% of the time, that's going to be an older TV, the factory remote is long-gone, and the TV will be set to CH3 or CH4 only. That means we have to try to walk the customer through programming the TV's tuner to be able to tune in either UHF-60 or cable CH73. Every model of TV has a different menu system, and using the buttons on the front of the TV is very frustrating (the manufacturer intended the customer to use the factory remote, which the customer never has). And about 10% of the time, one or more of the front-panel buttons is broken or missing. As you can guess, from the customer's point of view, it's always MY fault that this isn't "simple." Let's not even talk about if there is a language barrier; then it just becomes impossible.

The Duo receiver is a nice concept, but it adds a huge amount of servicing overhead at many levels that Dish's competitors don't have to deal with. I'm not sure that the hardware savings is worth it, especially now that more and more TVs need their own HD receiver.

Your comments are interesting as I really wasn't aware that the second TV connection generated a lot of calls. But it make sense given the number posts related to that subject here, particularly from new or potentially new Dish HD customers.

What you're saying makes me believe that for most customers in the future Dish needs a "712", a heftier 612, that doesn't get counted as 2 televisions because it can't service a separately controlled TV. Perhaps it should be offered as a "k" - with or without an optional dual OTA receiver module. This way the 922 would represent Dish's option designed to distribute an HD signal around the house from one box. Both should contain the web interface.

That could leave refurbed 722/622's for those who still want to service old analog TV's plus the 612 for a low end, one HD TV box.

Sorry for "thinking out loud" here but I think Dish needs to work its way through the dichotomy of being the technology leader and being the cheap HD TV option.

#13 OFFLINE   BattleZone

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Posted 11 May 2009 - 01:44 PM

It's definitely the case that Dish is going to have to face the reality sooner or later (probably SOONER) that SD outputs just aren't going to be acceptable to people, and thus the 2-TV receiver model just isn't going to work anymore. As we've talked about in the past, adding HD outputs to the TV2 output isn't a solution, because customers will demand that dish provides the entire connection. That's not hard to do with RG6 coax (which is often already in place), but MUCH harder to do with an HDMI cable (that must be kept as short as possible) or component cables (5 x RG6). The difficulty and expense of that option means that we'll be back to each TV having a receiver.

The problem at the moment is that Dish's dishes and switches depend on a low receiver count. Having to install multiple external switches at every house will get very expensive, so either some new, higher-output-density switches need to be made, or the dishes are going to need more built-in outputs on the LNB.

Or, perhaps Dish is planning to move to a "whole-home" DVR model with one "smart" server and the "dumb client boxes" connected via coax using MoCA. That could potentially eliminate both problems and could be a workable solution for most customers. That's how Uverse works in general, and more-or-less the model DirecTV is moving to as well.

This is all just educated guesses on my part, though; I could be completely wrong.

#14 OFFLINE   Shades228

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Posted 11 May 2009 - 02:16 PM

Once again, if we compare numbers...

We see that Dish lost almost 750,000 subscribers while DirecTV lost around 715,000 in the same quarter.

So the REAL problem at Dish is in adding new subscribers. People who say that DirecTV=better because they had net subscriber additions are ignoring the obvious fact that an almost equal number of existing subscribers last quarter were as displeased with DirecTV as they were with Dish!

IF DirecTV were all that + chips, then people wouldn't be leaving in droves from them too... People like to point at lots of points like channels Dish doesn't have, or sports packages, or whatever... to say why so many are leaving Dish... but no one asks why the same amount of people are leaving DirecTV who supposedly has all the things Dish doesn't!

I, for one, conclude for several quarters now... that DirecTV is MUCH better at adding subscribers than Dish is... but once they get the customers, they are clearly no better at keeping them than Dish... which leads me to believe their marketing spin machine in overdrive is leading more people to higher expectations with DirecTV than Dish... BUT clearly those people are changing their minds once they sign up and see reality is not that different at either company.

Lesson learned... Dish needs to improve new customer acquisition if they want to stem the tide of perception... but the reality is once you get past the marketing advantage of DirecTV, everything else must be pretty equal.



While the number of actual subs are roughly the same the % is not. They're not gaining customers with new subs to counteract the people leaving. The % of customers they're losing is much higher then DirecTV. It shows that they have deficiencies in both aspects of customer growth. When you have almost 20% less customers losing the same amount is bad. To keep it the same they should have lost 20% less and churn rates would have been the same. If they could have kept the churn % the same as DirecTV they would have had a small, about 70k, net increase in customers this quarter.

The upside is if they're smart they'll start using a lot of that short term cash to really hammer out some promotions that will get them into a positive customer flow. If they don't then we're going to start seeing the profits start dropping as last years negative numbers start to hit.

I didn't read the report but did they break down churn into voluntary and involuntary? The only upside is if they have more involuntary which are generally customers who end up costing money anyways.

#15 OFFLINE   Steve

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Posted 11 May 2009 - 02:51 PM

We see that Dish lost almost 750,000 subscribers while DirecTV lost around 715,000 in the same quarter.

So the REAL problem at Dish is in adding new subscribers. People who say that DirecTV=better because they had net subscriber additions are ignoring the obvious fact that an almost equal number of existing subscribers last quarter were as displeased with DirecTV as they were with Dish!

It's not all displeasure that causes folks to leave. A very high % is due to unavoidable attrition, due to death or moving, e.g., and that % is probably similar for all programming service providers.

That said, if you subtract out the similar %'s of Dish and DirecTV "movers" and deceased, the "total who left" this quarter is only 4% of the DirecTV subscriber base vs. 5.5% of Dish subscribers. So how do you explain the 1.5% more who left Dish than Direct? That could be due to displeasure, or leaving for a better cable deal, because DirecTV is not cheaper than Dish, AFAIK.

And of course, as you say, why is DirecTV doing a better job of acquiring new subscribers than Dish? It's probably not due to NFLST, if we're talking about Q1 '09. Or the # of HD channels, since Dish may now be the leader. (Depends on which day of the week you check! :))

I'm a DirecTV customer who's very interested in seeing Dish flourish as well, because I'm a firm believer that healthy competition is a good thing. I don't want to have to leave DirecTV because they got complacent. I hope as much as Dish subscribers that Dish gets this figured out! /steve

Edited by Steve, 11 May 2009 - 04:47 PM.


#16 OFFLINE   BattleZone

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Posted 11 May 2009 - 03:06 PM

Another part of it is that Dish chooses to market to the low end of the market, and those are the folks hardest hit by the problems in the economy right now, and IMO one of the biggest reasons Dish isn't seeing the growth they need. With bundling competition from cable and telecoms, they can no longer compete by offering the lowest price (cable and telecom can lose money on TV and make it up on phone and Internet), so they're getting squeezed from both sides.

I've been saying for a long time that Dish needs to retool their marketing and portray themselves as a premium provider, and target the upper end of the market, where all the growth potential is. The low-end customers will still come, and Dish certainly has the equipment and packages to meet their needs. But the money is on the higher-end customer who has money to spend. DirecTV recoginized that years ago and actively bills themselves as a premium provider. This ironically pulls in the low-end customers too, as for many, any "premium" brand is desirable.

The market has changed in some big ways since 3 years ago when Dish was doing very, very well, and they need to change their marketing strategy to reflect those changes. They need to talk about their lead in HD channels, and their higher-end equipment, like the forthcoming 922. If done right, it will get customers fired up and interested, and they could end up with some big gains.

#17 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 11 May 2009 - 04:00 PM

I've felt for a year now that the new Dish Network needed to get with the home entertainment retail marketing mentality. Look around and create market opportunities. Having Echostar equipment certainly will allow both a higher-end market focus along with the "budget-minded" market.

Creating a high profile in special markets in the next few years apparently is something someone at Dish is aware of. The unique Spanish language packages is a good move. The expansion into Mexico with satellite service is no small thing, assuming they can make money. Despite political rhetoric and a bad economy, people will continue to move back and forth across the border. And more HD in Puerto Rico will create a more favorable image which may allow expansion into Cuba in the next decade.

The other foreign language packages seem to be popular on the West Coast (I don't know about the rest of the country). It's a good way to create brand familiarity and comfort with satellite in households with first- and second-generation Americans.

Avoiding the "you can't do that to me" lawsuits would be another improvement. No reason exists not to have the Rainbow-owned channels in HD (AMC, IFC, Sundance, etc.) except for that stupid VOOM dispute. And not finding a way to work things out with Fisher which affects so much of the Pacific Northwest and parts of California is foolish. They don't even list the Fisher lawsuit, lumping it in "disputes with programmers" and then offer the following:

In our opinion, the amount of ultimate liability with respect to any of these actions is unlikely to materially affect our financial position, results of operations or liquidity.

Exactly! It's immaterial, other than it alienates customers. So why do it?

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#18 OFFLINE   Hound

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Posted 11 May 2009 - 04:45 PM

Don't forget MSG and MSG II HD with the Rainbow channels.
I would have never signed with D* except for those channels.

#19 OFFLINE   WebTraveler

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Posted 11 May 2009 - 06:51 PM

Well. the net loss was less than some expected. Still making money though. I think dish will start gaining customers again this year. I think things are begining to look brighter.


Well where are the new subscribers coming from? The new additions to Directv are under new two-year contracts. Some pickup from cable, some pick up from non-cable/satellite customers related to the DTV conversion, and perhaps some minimal perging from Directv, but unlikely.

#20 OFFLINE   Shades228

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Posted 11 May 2009 - 08:22 PM

Well where are the new subscribers coming from? The new additions to Directv are under new two-year contracts. Some pickup from cable, some pick up from non-cable/satellite customers related to the DTV conversion, and perhaps some minimal perging from Directv, but unlikely.


Dish is picking up small % of disconnects from other companies who mainly can't afford other companies and are looking for the cheap provider. That's not the ONLY reason but it's the biggest. They added about 630k customers, including second accounts and reconnects, this quarter however they lost more then they gained. If they didn't get any new customers this quarter you'd be reading a whole different situation. It's impossible for companies to not get new subs no matter what people will try a service or whatever. However I would guess that once again it was lowest price and econo customers as the main new subs as well as reconnects coming in second.




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