UPDATE 2-Dish Network quarterly profit misses estimates
Feb 20 (Reuters) - Dish Network Corp, the second-largest U.S. satellite TV company, reported a lower-than-expected quarterly profit and added fewer pay-TV subscribers than analysts had hoped.
The company said on Wednesday that it added 14,000 pay-TV subscribers on a net basis in the fourth quarter. Wall Street analysts were expecting net subscriber additions of 44,000 in the quarter, according to StreetAccount consensus data.
Profit fell 33 percent in the quarter as Dish spent more money to entice new customers and paid out settlement fees for its high-profile court battle with Cablevision involving a joint high definition satellite service that never got off the ground.
"There is nothing in the fundamentals here that is going to raise a red flag and at the same time it's nothing to get excited about," said Todd Mitchell, an analyst at Brean Murray, Carret & Co.
"Overall its a bit of a lethargic quarter."
Dish is currently in a holding pattern, Mitchell said, as the company tries to move past its core business. Pay-TV services have matured and face tough competition from a host of cable, telecom and streaming video services offered by the likes of Netflix and Amazon.
Dish has set its sights on the broadband market and made a splashy attempt to buy wireless spectrum service provider Clearwire Corp, after it had already agreed to sell itself to majority-owner Sprint Nextel Corp.
Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen told Reuters last month that he wants to get into the wireless broadband market, but it could take the company months to finalize its wireless plans because of some remaining regulatory issues and wireless market consolidation.
Dish has also raised hackles with media companies with the launch of the Hopper, a new set top box device that allows its customers to skip commercials. It's currently involved in legal battles with media conglomerates like CBS Corp.
Quarterly revenue dropped 1 percent to $3.59 billion.
Profit fell to $209 million, or 46 cents per share, from $313 million, or 70 cents per share, a year earlier. Analysts on average expected earnings of 51 cents per share on revenue of $3.56 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Dish said on Friday that it was writing down the assets of its Blockbuster stores in the United Kingdom, resulting in a pre-tax charge of $46 million in 2012, according to a regulatory filing.
Dish's sister company EchoStar Corp's quarterly revenue fell to $786.2 million from $834 million a year ago.