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Cable Operators

Dish Crosses 14 Million Sub Mark

12/12/2009 2:00 AM Eastern

Dish Network, the second largest satellite-TV service provider, said it has crossed the 14 million-subscriber milestone.

That not only makes Dish a solid third in the rankings of multichannel video service providers — behind Comcast with 24 million customers and DirecTV Group with 18.4 million customers — but also indicates that the net new subscriber growth trend that began in the second and third quarters is continuing as the fourth quarter nears its close.

Dish reported a gain of 241,000 net new customers in the third quarter ended Sept. 30 to 13.851 million subscribers. By reaching the 14 million customer mark on Dec. 10, Dish has effectively added about 149,000 subscribers in the fourth quarter with about three more weeks in the period to go.

The third-quarter subscriber gains marked the second straight period of customer growth for the company — Dish added 26,000 net new subscribers in the second quarter — after three straight periods of losses.

Dish has focused on boosting its HDTV lineup — it now has more than 150 national HD channels available and local HD available in 152 markets — and in November said it was making moves to wean itself from heavy discounting.

“Surpassing 14 million subscribers is testimony to the strides we made over the past year in providing a best-in-class video experience,” Dish Network chairman and CEO Charlie Ergen said in a statement. “We have more high-definition channels than any other TV provider, we feature award-winning DVR technology, and we do it all at the most economical prices in the business.”

September