While Sling TV has yet to take off the way Dish might have hoped it would, it seems that the company was wise not to keep all of its eggs in the satellite TV basket. Although its subscriber numbers have continued to fall, its Sling TV subscriber base is growing.
The company saw a loss of 12,000 total pay-TV subscribers in the last quarter, according to its latest earnings report. That makes for a total loss of 81,000 subscribers lost in 2015, slightly more than the 79,000 subscribers the company lost in 2014.
Dish combines its satellite TV subscribers with Sling TV subscribers, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that Sling TV is losing subscribers. A research report from MoffetNathanson estimates that
The company has kept relatively quiet about the number of Sling TV subscribers it has, aside from its initial announcement of 169,000 users in the month following its launch. While some estimate the current subscriber number to be around 400,000, that number could be over 600,000, according to a report yesterday from the Wall Street Journal.
Though subscriber numbers are down overall, Dish actually saw a revenue increase over 2015. Total revenue for the year was $15.1 billion, up from the $14.6 billion the company earned in 2014. Actual operating income was down, however, at $1.3 billion compared to $1.8 billion in 2014, which Dish says comes from an FCC auction expense of $516 million.
Cord-cutters are only partially to blame for the drop in numbers. While Dish is down, both Time Warner and Comcast added video subscribers over the last quarter.
While the future of satellite TV isn’t looking particularly bright, the prospects for Sling TV seem brighter. In January Goldman Sachs analyst Brett Feldman estimated that the streaming TV service could see a total of 2 million subscribers by the end of 2016.
That still seems like a long shot, but not as much as it once did. After all, those former satellite subscribers have to go somewhere.
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