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Dish Serves Up Q1 Subscriber Surprise

Here's what's pushing cable's buttons this Monday morning.

  • Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH) added 104,000 net new video subscribers in the first quarter, beating analyst expectations of 62,000 and extending its total to 14.07 million. Dish posted a first-quarter profit of $360 million, down 34 percent from the year-ago period, which included a reversal of previously accrued expenses tied to Dish's settlement with TiVo Inc. (Nasdaq: TIVO). Dish posted a first-quarter EBITDA of $892 million on revenues of $3.58 billion. Wall Street was expecting EBITDA of $868 million on revenues of $3.6 billion. Dish execs are expected to offer an update on its wireless buildout plans later on Monday. (See Dish Stashing Cash for Its 4G Run and Dish, EchoStar to Pay TiVo $500M to Settle Suit .)

  • Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Inc. analyst Craig Moffett wasn't impressed by Dish's surprise subscriber gain. In a research note, he held that Dish's long-term profitability prospects remain a challenge while labeling Dish's year-over-year ARPU gain of 1.8 percent (to $76.71) as "anemic," adding that ARPU actually declined 0.7 percent versus the previous quarter.

  • U.S. MSOs lost about 2.9 million TV subscribers in 2011, while the telcos added 1.1 million and satellite TV service providers added a pedestrian 280,000, reports Multichannel News, citing a new study from The Nielsen Co. Homes that subscribed to broadband and relied on free over-the-air broadcast TV climbed 14 percent, to 5.1 million.

  • LG Electronics Inc. (London: LGLD; Korea: 6657.KS) plans to launch a new broadband-connected HDTV with Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)'s second-generation TV platform in the U.S. the week of May 21 as it looks to goose its market share, Reuters reported. The consumer electronics giant will decide later whether to offer it in Europe and Asia. Logitech Ltd. took a bath on the first and much-maligned Google TV platform and is taking a pass on the 2.0 version. (See Google TV Won't Fool Logitech Again .)

  • Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) revealed in a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing last week that it's exercised an option for its NBCUniversal LLC unit to sell a "substantial portion" of its stake in A&E Networks in the second half of 2012. A Citibank analyst estimates that NBCU's stake in A&E, which also operates History Channel, Lifetime and The Biography Channel, is worth about $2 billion, AP reported.

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

  • Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:33:57 PM
    re: Dish Serves Up Q1 Subscriber Surprise

    On the Dish call, Joe Clayton mentioned that Dish didn't raise rates in Q1, so that probably helped.  They also said the new home Blockbuster package had a "positive impact" on sales but did not get more specific

    What didn't help: the new Hopper/Joey whole home HD-DVR, which was only on the market for the last two weeks of Q1. JB

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