Dish Network posts 3Q loss on settlement

NEW YORK (AP) — Satellite TV broadcaster Dish Network Corp. posted a loss for the third quarter due to an expensive legal settlement, but subscriber trends improved as it continued to hold the line on prices.

Dish lost 19,000 subscribers in the quarter, less than the 111,000 drop in the same quarter last year, despite a four-month blackout of AMC channels due to a fee dispute.

The dispute ended with a settlement in late October. Dish paid $700 million to AMC Networks and Cablevision Systems Corp., a New York-area cable company that is AMC's former parent. The dispute involved not just transmission rights for AMC channels, but a defunct Cablevision programming service called Voom.

Dish, the No. 2 U.S. satellite broadcaster after DirecTV, said it lost $158 million, or 35 cents per share, for the three months ended Sept. 30. In the same quarter last year, it reported net income of $319 million, or 71 cents per share.

Excluding the settlement, Dish would have earned $295 million, or about 65 cents per share, down 8 percent from last year.

Analysts polled by FactSet had expected earnings of 56 cents per share, excluding the litigation expense.

Revenue fell 2.2 percent to $3.52 billion from $3.59 billion a year ago, mainly because of fall-off at the Blockbuster video rental chain, which Dish bought in April last year.

Analysts were, on average, expecting revenue of $3.56 billion.

The Englewood, Colo., company ended the quarter with 14 million subscribers, as the third-largest provider of pay-TV signals to U.S. homes.

Larger rival DirecTV on Tuesday reported results that missed expectations, as a dispute with Viacom Inc. made some subscribers cancel service in the quarter.

Dish shares rose 77 cents, or 2.2 percent, to $35.60 in midday trading after rising as high as $36.38 earlier in the session. The shares are close to the four-year high of $36.68 hit two weeks ago.

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