As its proposed merger with DirecTV hangs by a thread, satellite pay TV provider EchoStar Communications showed continued growth in both revenue and number of subscribers in its third quarter results.
Total revenue at the company for the latest quarter increased 20 percent from the same period a year ago, reaching approximately $1.22 billion. EchoStar's EBITDA, a rough measure of operating cash flow, totaled $197 million, a $42 million improvement over the corresponding period in 2001. The company did specifically attribute at least part of that EBITDA growth to recent litigation wins and a reduction in the cost of set-top box equipment, but also said EBITDA was being tugged in the other direction due to increased subscriber acquisition costs.
And as EchoStar's cable competition continues to fight churn and subscriber loss, it appears that at least a portion of cable's subscribers are defecting over to satellite services like EchoStar. Among the numbers in the recent filing was the fact that EchoStar reported approximately 320,000 net new subscribers during the quarter. That sub growth is indicative of a larger trend, it seems; EchoStar's DISH Network claims 7.78 million subscribers as of Sept. 30, 2002, an increase of more than 21 percent over last year's numbers.