EchoStar, which now incorporates satellite television provider DISH TV, reported its subscriber numbers and they continue to show a slow decline. The number of television subscribers fell by 314,000 in the fourth quarter, compared to a decrease of 268,000 in the same quarter the previous year. The company ended 2023 with 8.53 million television subscribers, of which 6.47 million were DISH TV customers and 2.06 million were to the SLING TV online service. That represents a loss of 945,000 satellite subscribers and 280,000 online subscribers over the year.

Television revenue was $11.57 billion for the year, down from $12.51 billion the previous year. Total revenue for 2023 was $17.02 billion, down from $18.63 billion. That produced a net loss of $1.70 billion, compared to net income of $2.48 billion in2023. That was partly attributable to a noncash impairment to goodwill of around $758 million.

“We closed the year with the completion of the merger with DISH Network,” said Hamid Akhavan, the chief executive of EchoStar Corporation. “With the close of the merger, we will continue to integrate our business and realize savings and operational efficiencies. We also will increase our focus on identifying and targeting the best, most profitable customers in each of our addressable market segments &emdash; Pay-TV, Retail Wireless, and Broadband and Satellite Services.”

Notably absent from the results call with analysts was Charlie Ergen, now chairman of the board, apparently because it was his birthday.


The steady decline in satellite television subscribers is understandable, but the loss of SLING TV online subscribers is more of a concern. The company points out that it is a profitably business, which is rare among online television and video services. It is facing an increasingly competitive online video market.

“Programmers continue to spend less on their core linear TV product, which we pay for, and continue to shift investment into their own direct-to-consumer services, even though these efforts have been largely unprofitable,” Gary Schanman, who now runs the compbine DISH and SLING video operation, told analysts.

“In particular, the Warner Bros. discovery decision to make TNT and TBS sports available free through MAX and the increasing simulcasting and sports programming on ESPN Plus for Disney and Peacock from NBCU has added more confusion to an already fragmented market.”

“Regardless, we continue to invest in experiences to delight our customers and increase engagement,” he said. “We’re also really pleased with the growth of Sling Free stream, our free ad-supported service, which recently launched the industry’s first free DVR. In 2024, we’ll continue to innovate on the platform to ensure we’re delivering the content, features and experience are paid and free customers want.”