Dish Network (DISH) cratered 10% on Tuesday after reporting first-quarter revenue that missed views as investors worried about its long-term strategy amid continued weakness in its core satellite TV business.


“Dish’s satellite TV business is in effect a declining annuity stream that in Q1 declined at a faster than expected pace, with an increasingly difficult outlook,” said Jeffrey Wlodarczak, analyst at Pivotal Research, in a report.

Dish fell 12.1% to close at 29.81 on the stock market today, falling to a six-year low. Dish has plummeted 55% since Aug. 1.

Dish has amassed wireless spectrum for 5G wireless services. But the value of its airwaves has been undercut by the proposed merger of T-Mobile US (TMUS) with Sprint (S) as well as upcoming government auctions.

Bleeding Subscribers

With cable TV companies Comcast (CMCSA) and Charter Communications (CHTR) also bleeding subscribers, investors are focused on Dish’s pay TV business rather than wireless options, says Craig Moffett, analyst at MoffettNathanson.

“The market’s blindness to the rapid deterioration of Dish’s satellite TV business ended abruptly with the recent meltdown in cable stocks,” Moffett said in a note to clients. “Dish is no longer just a way to express a view about spectrum valuations.”

Verizon Communications (VZ) has stated no interest in acquiring the declining satellite TV business.

“Investors are likely going to have to continue to be patient given the low likelihood for M&A or spectrum sale/usage until the second half of 2019,” added Wlodarczak.

Partners Are Sparse

Dish’s attempts to find a wireless or internet partner to build out a networks has turned up empty.

“I don’t think you should expect announcements on partnerships and anchor tenants,” Charles Ergen, Dish’s co-founder, said on its earnings call Tuesday.

Dish’s satellite pay TV service dropped 185,000 subscribers, while its Sling-branded Internet TV service added 91,000. Analysts say the internet video service is not profitable.

Dish said it earned 70 cents a share, down from 76 cents a share a year ago, in-line with expectations.

Revenue dropped 6% to $3.46 billion, missing views. Analysts had projected $3.5 billion.


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