When good news is scarce, it's best to rejoice in small glories. On that note, shares of conjoined satellite TV twins DISH Network
After a year of losing subscribers, quarter by quarter, DISH finally managed to eke out a small sample of customer growth in the second quarter. And I do mean small: 26,000 net new subscribers is barely above redline. More than 730,000 gross subscriber lines were added, but 96% of that was canceled out by customers leaving the service, or trial-offer customers who never converted to long-term subscribers. DISH has 13.6 million paying customers now.
To put that performance into perspective, fellow entertainment-by-subscription maven Netflix
In all fairness, we're comparing DISH going it alone versus last year's distribution partnership with AT&T
Still, if you wanted to invest in a broadcaster today, DISH wouldn't be it. In the immediate family, EchoStar's high-margin business model looks far more attractive. And DirecTV is beating DISH in the satellite arena with another fat-margin strategy that leaves mere table scraps for DISH. Don't forget Verizon
What do you think? Let me know in the comments box below.
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Fool contributor Anders Bylund owns shares in Netflix, but he holds no other position in any of the companies discussed here. You can check out Anders' holdings or a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.