Dish Loses Subscribers in Q2, Preps Launch of Boost Infinite

Dish Network posted a Q2 subscriber loss in both the satellite TV sector and among customers of its virtual multichannel video programming distributor Sling TV. Sling shed 257,000 traditional satellite video subs while Dish lost 202,000 net satellite subscribers. Regarding Sling TV, the vMVPD lost subscribers for the third consecutive quarter, down 55,000 in Q2, a marked improvement over Sling’s Q1 net loss of 234,000 subs. Dish ended Q2 with 7.79 million satellite TV subscribers, while Sling closed the April through June period with about 2.19 million customers. Meanwhile, Dish announced its Boost Infinite postpaid wireless service will launch later this year.

“Dish is shrinking rapidly,” is how Fierce Video puts it, explaining the satellite TV service was able to plug the dike for a while, “thanks to a strategy of putting more focus on its rural core where cable and cord-cutting weren’t options, helping to improve churn as there weren’t many options other than Dish,” but going on to quote a MoffettNathanson report stating “it has become increasingly clear that that strategy has largely run its course.”

As a result of price increases, “combined pay TV average revenue per user was up 5.2 percent year over year to $101.3 — marking an all-time high and the first time above $100, Fierce Video wrote, citing MoffettNathanson. But revenue for the pay TV business (satellite and Sling) fell to $3.2 billion, a 3 percent drop from a year ago.

Dish president and CEO Erik Carlson emphasized on last week’s earnings call that the company is trying new things to entice viewers, including launching streaming apps for Netflix and Amazon, and offering customers an Android TV box.

The company is also continuing to ramp up on 5G. In 2020, Dish purchased prepaid operator Boost Mobile from Sprint in a deal that enabled the satellite provider to use T-Mobile’s 5G network while it built out its own service.

“Last year the company reached a deal with AT&T to allow Dish users to utilize AT&T’s network when Dish began offering its own 5G service in 120 cities including Las Vegas, Dallas and Nashville earlier this year. In June the company also reached a new agreement with T-Mobile to continue using its network,” CNET writes.

Now Dish is preparing to launch a postpaid product, launching a website promoting Boost Infinite, according to CNET, which says the company’s marketing hook is “touting the ‘power of three networks.’”

Dish last week went live with a sign-up page for Boost Infinite, the brand with which it intends to compete against AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile head-on. This could be a welcome change for Dish. The pay TV market, Carlson told analysts on last week’s call, is “obviously in a bit of chaos.”

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