Dish Network 4Q earnings climb 24 percent

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) - Dish Network Corp., the No. 2 satellite TV broadcaster, said it net income rose 24 percent in the latest quarter, beating analyst expectations, as it added a modest number of subscribers.

The Englewood, Colo., company said it earned $313 million, or 70 cents per share, in the three months that ended Dec. 31. That was up from $252 million, or 56 cents per share, a year earlier.

Analysts polled by FactSet were on average expecting earnings of 62 cents per share.

Revenue rose 13 percent to $3.63 billion from $3.21 billion a year ago, chiefly because of the acquisition of the Blockbuster video-store chain in April. The figures matched analyst expectations.

Dish added a net 22,000 satellite subscribers in the quarter. It's been posting losses for most quarters in the last two years.

"By introducing new Blockbuster-branded services, we've begun to turn the tide in subscriber losses while continuing to face increased competitive pressures," CEO Joe Clayton said in a statement.

Dish now hopes to further improve subscriber numbers with the help of a sophisticated new set-top box, the Hopper. It features powerful digital recording capabilities.

Dish shares rose 33 cents to $29.49 in morning trading.

The larger satellite broadcaster, DirecTV Group Inc., last week reported adding 125,000 U.S. subscribers in the fourth quarter, helped by its exclusive NFL Sunday Ticket.

Dish ended the quarter with 14 million subscribers, keeping its position as the third-largest provider of paid TV signals to U.S. households, behind DirecTV and Comcast Corp.

For the full year, the company earned $1.52 billion, or $3.39 per share, on revenue of $14.05 billion.