They are. The trouble is where pundits draw the lines.
Shouldn't they be adding subscribers AND making a profit (even if profits or additions are down, but still in the positive)?
"Net subscriber additions" is an easy line to draw at zero. Who cares if 963k subscribers left your service - over five percent of your customers - in 3Q when the net is above zero? Perhaps it is just being expressed poorly by said pundits when they say "the company is going to lose subscribers". What they really mean is their subscriber additions will be down. If one is looking for larger subscriber losses there is a satellite company that beats dish nearly every quarter in losing subscribers.
And if one reads the actual 10Q report and not just the numbers one will see why subscriber additions are down. Without needing to make up their own explanations.
The entire battle over subscribers is gaining new ones. DISH has managed to add 3.246 million subscribers over the last four reported quarters ... 438k more than they lost. DirecTV added 493k more than they lost in the same period. And somehow DISH is failing because their net is 55k lower than the #2 cable/satellite company?
Financially DISH has made money every year since 2002 (where $690 million of their loss was merger termination costs from the attempt to buy DirecTV). They made more money 3Q 2010 than they did in any entire year before 2005. They have turned more profit in the first three quarters of 2010 than they did in the entire year of 2009 and are on track to make more money in 2010 than they have in any year except 2005 (2005 was an exceptionally good year). And yet pundits will find a way to spin that into a failure.
DirecTV's 3Q profits were down 20% compared to 2Q but up 18% compared to 3Q 09. Guess which number will be reported by the pundits. The one that fits their agenda. (DISH's 3Q profits were down 4% compared to 2Q but up 202% compared to 3Q 09. Both numbers beat DirecTV so I suppose DISH wins! )
It all depends on where you draw the line.