Satellite TV provider Dish Network dishposted its biggest ever drop in subscribers in the fourth quarter and said it may lose more customers in 2009 as its partnership with AT&T ended and the recession and competition hit harder.
Shares of Dish fell 11.7%, to $9.93, Monday as analysts saw little hope of a quick turnaround for the once highflying company controlled by Charlie Ergen.
Dish ended the year with 13.7 million subscribers, down 102,000 in the fourth quarter. Five Wall Street analysts polled on average had forecast an addition of about 20,000 subscribers. In the year-ago period, Dish added 85,000 customers.
In a filing, Dish said AT&T was a "substantial contributor" to its subscriber additions over the past several years.
Dish also cited weaker economic conditions, signal theft and other forms of fraud, and operational inefficiencies for the subscriber losses.
"2008 was kind of a year where our goal was to stop getting worse," Ergen told analysts. "In 2009, we are now prepared to go forward by getting better, and it's just easier to manage a company when you are trying to get better than when you are trying to stop getting worse."
In other media earnings:
•TiVo tivoreported a narrower loss in the fourth quarter as lower costs buoyed the bottom line in the face of a 20% drop in revenue to $59.2 million.
The DVR company lost $3.6 million vs. a loss of $6.4 million in the same quarter a year earlier.
The results include a litigation award of $87.8 million from a patent lawsuit with Dish Network, as well as $18.6 million in interest income, most of which was related to the lawsuit.
TiVo said it expects a net loss of $6 million to $8 million in the first quarter.
The company reported 3.3 million subscriptions, down 3.6% from the previous quarter.
•Concert promoter Live Nation lyv posted a loss of $338 million in the fourth quarter.
Goodwill impairment, partly caused by the company's falling share price, led to a $270 million write-down.
Revenue fell 0.7% to $916 million.