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Dish Network 4Q profit falls, gains subscribers

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[March 01, 2010]  ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) -- Dish Network gained more subscribers for the third straight quarter, and the nation's second-largest satellite TV operator reported a better-than-expected fourth-quarter profit even though its earnings declined.

InsuranceDish has been picking up subscribers from rivals partly due to an aggressive ad campaign that says its TV packages are more affordable.

Its earnings slipped 18 percent to $179 million, or 40 cents per share, but still topped the 32 cents-per-share estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. These estimates usually remove one-time items.

Dish reported a profit of $217 million, or 48 cents per share, a year earlier.

Earlier this month rival DirecTV Inc. -- the country's biggest satellite TV operator -- posted a fourth-quarter loss after absorbing a hefty buyout charge.


The two companies are fighting to win over new customers, with Dish saying its ads -- which claim DirecTV service is more expensive -- are bringing in customers.

DirecTV is suing Dish for false advertising.

Dish's ad blitz has helped to attract and retain subscribers, but it's also hurt margins and ultimately, the bottom line.

Revenue for the period ended Dec. 31 climbed 1 percent to $2.96 billion from $2.92 billion, surpassing Wall Street's $2.94 billion.

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Dish gained about 249,000 net subscribers in the quarter.

Full-year earnings declined 30 percent to $636 million, or $1.42 per share, compared with $903 million, or $1.98 per share, in the previous year.

Annual revenue edged up slightly to $11.66 billion from $11.62 billion.

Dish, based in Englewood, Colo., had approximately 14.1 million subscribers at year's end after gaining about 422,000 subscribers during 2009.

[Associated Press]

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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