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 Post Posted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 10:42 pm 
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New numbers from DirecTV and Dish show that the satellite TV business may now be at its peak and will enter a decline as consumers turn to their iPads, laptops and mobile devices to watch video on the web rather than on TV.

In DirecTV's Q4 earnings, the company reported an increase in total subscribers but a bad miss on new subscribers, which are down 56.7 percent. When asked when DirecTV's subscribers might go into an absolute decline, analyst Vijay Jayant who covers cable and satellite TV for ISI Group told BI:

"It might go negative in 2Q this year and reverse. I think 2015 is when I have them negative for the full year."

Dish will report Q4 numbers tomorrow morning. ISI is expecting a net loss of subscribers for the full year. Here's a summary of the negative trending subscriber numbers for both companies, based on company disclosures and ISI estimates:

Expectation of around 176,000 new subscribers in Q4, but results came in at just 125,000.
Net additional subscribers in Q4 down 56.7% to 125,000 from 289,000.
Net additional subscribers in 2011 down marginally to 662,000

Expectation of net loss of 126,000 subscribers for 2011
Estimates that its 2010 base of 14.1 million subscribers will decline in 2011 and fall to 13.8 million in 2015.

As you can see from this ISI chart, Dish has probably already entered its death throes.


Note that the numbers all dovetail with Time Warner's loss of subscribers from its cable business and an overall expected decline in the number of people expected to pay for television in 2012.


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