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Office Hours

Fri., Feb. 25, 2011, 4:13 p.m.

Dish Network hardly better than Comcast, sees cord-cutting, penny-pinching

One week ago Office Hours had a post on the continuing decline in video customers felt by cable company Comcast Corp.

This week let's be fair and give an update on the tough year Dish Network had in 2010.

Dish Network Corp. on Feb. 24 said it gained a mere U.S. 33,000 customers in 2010, one of its smallest subscriber increases in years, due to increased competition, higher numbers of subscribers "cutting the cord" and a weak economy.

The recently filed 10-K form said Dish Network felt a 92 percent drop in net new subscribers in 2010, compared with 2009.

The satellite service provider said its churn rate rose to 1.76 percent in 2010, up from 1.64 percent in 2009. Dish gave as one reason "programming interruptions related to contract disputes."

In the fourth quarter of 2010 alone Dish Network lost 156,000 subscribers but boosted profit and revenue as consumers spent more on services.

According to a story at SNL Kagan: "Dish has actively targeted the budget-conscious customer, betting its business on being the low-price leader in the multichannel industry. DIRECTV has taken the opposite tactic, going after more affluent customers who do not mind paying for premium packages such as the NFL Sunday Ticket. But a maturing industry has led to more price cuts and promotions among pay TV operators, hurting DISH's position."

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The Spokesman-Review business team follows economic development in Spokane and the Inland Northwest.