Dish misses profit expectations, but limits subscriber losses

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[August 03, 2017]  (Reuters) - Dish Network Corp on Thursday reported a quarterly profit that missed analysts' estimates, but the company lost fewer subscribers than expected.

 A Dish Network receiver hangs on a house in Somerville, Massachusetts, U.S. on February 21, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder/File Photo

The company said it lost about 196,000 net pay-TV subscribers in the second quarter ended June 30. The number includes subscribers to both its satellite TV and Sling TV services.

The loss came in below analysts' average expectation of 256,000 subscribers, according to financial data and analytics firm FactSet.

Net income attributable to Dish plunged 90 percent to $40 million or 9 cents per share in the quarter, hurt by litigation expenses, net of taxes, of $280 million.

Excluding one-time items, Dish earned 69 cents per share, missing analysts' average estimate of 75 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Dish, like other pay-TV providers, is facing stiff competition from video streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu and HBO Live, as more viewers prefer to go online for their entertainment.

In 2015, Dish launched its own streaming service, Sling TV, to attract younger viewers, who are increasingly shifting away from traditional television services.

Dish has been buying up wireless airwaves, or spectrum, in recent years as its satellite business comes under pressure. In April, the company was the second-largest winner in a U.S. government auction of broadcast airwaves for wireless use.

Its spectrum portfolio has led industry analysts to speculate that it could tie up with U.S. wireless carriers such as Verizon Communications Inc <VZ.N> or T-Mobile US Inc <TMUS.O>.

Following the spectrum auction, Dish Chief Executive Charlie Ergen said in May the company was open to options that would ultimately increase "shareholder value". Inc <AMZN.O> CEO Jeff Bezos and Ergen have discussed a partnership to enter the wireless business, the Wall Street Journal reported last month.

The aspirations of the two companies may be intersecting around connected devices, Citi analysts said in May, adding that Amazon could become a customer or investor.

Dish said second-quarter revenue dipped nearly 6 percent to $3.64 billion. Analysts on an average had expected $3.72 billion.

(Reporting by Laharee Chatterjee in Bengaluru and Anjali Athavaley in New York; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar)

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