Charlie Ergen Returns To Helm Dish Network As Joe Clayton Retires

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It’s a good thing that Charlie Ergen didn’t actually retire when he stepped down as CEO of Dish Network back in 2011. Ergen currently serving as chairman of the board, and he is apparently returning for a second term as chief executive. Dish announced on Monday morning that Chief Executive Joe Clayton is planning to retire on March 31.

Charlie Ergen back in the saddle again

Ergen returns to run the firm when Dish is trying to reverse notable subscriber losses. Analysts have speculated that Clayton’s departure was related to ongoing problems at the nation’s second largest satellite content provider.

Also of note, in the record-setting AWS-3 wireless spectrum auction last month, Dish did not win any licenses but dis invest in bidding partners SNR Wireless LicenseCo LLC and Northstar Wireless LLC, which together bid a hefty $13.3 billion to snap up airwaves in prime areas such as New York and Chicago.

Dish Network fourth quarter results

Dish also reported fourth quarter earnings on Monday. The satellite firm’s quarterly revenue came in below estimates as it lost more than 63,000 pay-TV subscribers in the fourth quarter, well above consensus analysts estimates.

Some of the problems stemmed from the absence of channels from Twenty-First Century Fox in Dish’s service after a dispute between the two companies that was eventually resolved in January.

The 2014 churn rate (user defections to other networks) was 1.59%, up slightly from 1.58% in 2013.

Net income rose to $409.9 million, or 88 cents per share, from $288 million, or 63 cents per share, a year earlier.

Earlier this year, Dish announced a new a $20 a month video-streaming service aimed at younger consumers who avoid expensive cable and satellite subscriptions.

Revenue was up to $3.68 billion, just under consensus analyst expectations of $3.70 billion, according to data from Thomson Reuters.

Statement from analyst

“Dish hasn’t grown its subscriber base in six years and in most business falling subscribership means falling margins as well, noted Craig Moffett, an analyst at MoffettNathanson. “But today’s results were better on margins.”

Moffett attributed some of the stronger margins to lower programming costs while a few shows were off the air.

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