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Sling TV Starts Losing Subscribers As Streaming Wars Intensify

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Dish Network Corp (NASDAQ: DISH) reported its Q4 2019 numbers and disclosed that it had lost both streaming and Pay-TV subscribers.

What Happened

Dish Network reported its fourth quarter, year-end financial results on Wednesday. The company reported revenue to the tune of $3.24 billion for Q4 2019. Subscription losses were reported in the Pay-TV segment.

At the end of 2019, the PayTV segment had a total of 11.98 million subscribers, 9.394 million of which were Dish TV subscribers, while 2.592 million were Sling subscribers.

In the last quarter of 2019, the streaming platform Sling TV lost 94,000 customers according to a statement issued by the company. In Q4 2019, Net Pay-TV subscribers fell by 194,000, while in Q4 2018 they had decreased by 334,000.

For the year ended December 2019, the company lost 336,000 Pay-TV subscribers, while it had lost 920,000 Pay-TV subscribers last year in the same period.

For the year ended December 2019, the company added 175,000 Sling TV subscribers, last year in the same period they had added 205,000 subscribers.

The company’s securities and exchange commission (SEC) filing disclosed that the decrease in Sling TV subscriptions came due to “increased competition,” including competition from over the top (OTT) providers.

Dish Network also said that subscriptions were dropped from Sling TV due to Univision, AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), and Fox Corporation's (NASDAQ: FOXA) Fox RSN’s removal of “certain of their channels from our programming lineup.”

What It Means

Streaming services are facing increasing competition. According to The Verge, “formidable rivals” of Sling TV include Alphabet Inc’s (NASDAQ: GOOGL) YouTube TV and Walt Disney Co.’s (NYSE: DIS) Hulu. The competition also comes from services such as Netflix Inc (NASDAQ: NFLX), Amazon Inc’s (NASDAQ: AMZN) Prime and, ViacomCBS Inc’s (NASDAQ: VIAC) CBS Max.

The streaming segment is only set to get crowded with the introduction of other alternatives like HBO Max and Comcast Corporation’s (NASDAQ: CMCSA) Peacock.

Sling TV has also raised prices of its Orange and Blue packages by $5 per month. This means that the Orange or Blue package now costs $30 per month, while the joint package is available for $45 per month.

Dish Network Chairman Ergen disclosed during an analyst call that the company’s rumored merger with rival Direc TV was “inevitable.” Although he did admit there were regulatory hurdles.

Price Action

Dish Network shares traded 0.46% lower at $41.06 in the after-hours session on Wednesday. The shares had closed the regular session 0.097% lower, at $41.25.

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