DISH Network finally released their first numbers for Sling TV, and they are looking good! According to DISH Sling TV added approximately 160,000 subscribers in the fourth quarter of last year. Overall, the service reportedly has 2.21 million subscribers.
While it is good news that Sling TV continues to grow, they still have a miniscule share of the streaming market when compared to behemoths like Netflix and Amazon. Netflix currently reports an impressive 118 million subscribers worldwide, while Amazon is able to claim about 40 million subscribers for their Prime Video service.
When you compare Sling TV to Netflix and Amazon it may seem like bad news, but at a time when other major traditional-TV subscribers are struggling DISH Network is finding its way in the non-traditional streaming television services. This bodes well for the future of the company.
It’s also important to remember that the path forward for DISH is not likely through their television service, but rather through the billions of dollars in wireless airwaves that the company has been buying up. The sheer amount of wireless airwaves that DISH Network now owns makes them a prime target for a major acquisition from one of the big wireless network carriers. DISH is facing and FCC deadline of 2021 to build their first wireless network or they will risk forfeiting their wireless holdings.
DISH Networks executive vice president of corporate development, Thomas Cullen spoke on a post-earnings call saying that the company expects to spend $1 billion to finish Phase One of their wireless network by 2020—well before the FCC deadline.
Recently DISH Network also found itself in a favorable position after the most recent tax reform laws were passed by the Trump administration. These new tax laws are estimated to save DISH approximately $1.2 billion a year. This caused the company’s annual income to jump from $355 million a year to a staggering $1.39 billion.
It’s also worth noting that DISH added about 39,000 pay-TV subscribers in the last quarter and an additional 75,000 reactivations in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands that were suspended as a result of the hurricane activity in 2017.