(DISH) DISH Network Earnings Miss – Subscriber Loss Soars

DISH Network Corp. (DISH) declared mixed financial results for the second quarter of 2011. Though revenue beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate, driven by additional contribution from newly acquired Blockbuster Inc., EPS fell below it.

However, the alarming sign is that net subscriber loss mounted in the previous quarter to 135,000 compared with a net loss of a mere 19,000 in the prior-year quarter. As on June 30, 2011, DISH Network had approximately 14.056 million subscribers.

DISH Network blamed lack of gross subscriber addition (down 23.4% year over year) was the primary reason for this huge net subscriber loss. We believe the net subscriber loss resulted from new pricing plan through which the company raised its service charges.

Management cited aggressive marketing promotion and increased level of discounts offered by the company’s competitors as the main reason for net subscriber loss. Furthermore, telecom giants AT&T (T) and Verizon Wireless, a joint venture between Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) and Vodafone Group plc. (VOD), are gradually expanding their respective pay-TV subscriber base buoyed by strong fiber-optic network.

Quarterly GAAP net income was $357.8 million or 75 cents per share compared with a net income of $234.2 million or 57 cents per share in the prior-year quarter. The second quarter of 2011 EPS of 75 cents fell below the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 77 cents.

Quarterly total revenue increased 13.3% to $3,590.2 million, from $3,169 million in the year-ago quarter. This was mainly due to an increase in subscriber related revenue and contribution from Blockbuster. The second-quarter revenue also surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $3,405 million.

Segment wise, Subscriber-related quarterly revenue was approximately $3,311.3 million, up 5.4% year over year. Equipment sales & other revenue was $270 million, up 1,535.8% year over year. Equipment sales, services, and other revenues from EchoStar was $8.8 million, down 21.5% year over year.

Average monthly subscriber churn rate in the second quarter of 2011 was 1.67% compared with 1.78% in the year-ago quarter. Average revenue per user (ARPU) in the reported quarter was $78.06 compared with $73.05 in the prior-year quarter. Average subscriber acquisition cost in the last quarter was $795 compared with $743 in prior-year quarter.

In the second quarter of 2011, Subscriber-related expenses inched up 4.9% year over year to $1.7 billion, driven by higher programming content costs and expenses related to call center operations. Subscriber acquisition cost decreased by 15.4% year over year to $342.8 million. Depreciation and amortization expenses were $237.1 million, down 10.4% year over year.

General and administrative expenses grew 93.2% year over year to $336.5 million on higher personnel costs and professional fees to support the network. Quarterly operating income increased by 36.5% to $717.8 million, while operating margin rose to 20% from the year-ago level of 16.6%. Accordingly, the second quarter of 2011 EBITDA was $935 million compared with $786.5 million in the year-ago quarter.

During the first half of 2011, DISH Network generated $1,258.4 million of cash from operations compared with $1,115.9 million in the year-go period. Free cash flow (cash flow from operations less capital expenditures) in the reported period was $855.6 million compared with $578.6 million in the prior-year quarter.

At the end of the second quarter of 2011, DISH Network had $4,717.3 million of cash and marketable securities and $8,626.8 million of outstanding debt on its balance sheet compared with $3,062.3 million of cash and marketable securities and $6,486.1 million of outstanding debt on its balance sheet at the end of fiscal 2010.

Recommendation

We maintain our long-term Neutral recommendation on DISH Network. Currently, it holds a short-term Zacks #2 Rank (Buy) on the stock.

DISH NETWORK CP (DISH): Free Stock Analysis Report

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