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Dish website hit with outage on earnings day

A Dish Network satellite dish.
A Dish Network satellite dish. (Photo by Cody Logan via Wikimedia Commons, Graphic by The Desk)

The corporate website of satellite broadcaster Dish Network went offline Thursday after the company experienced an internal technology issue.

The issue began shortly before the company was set to disclose its quarterly earnings report, and impacted investors who were trying to access earnings-related materials through the Dish Network website on Thursday.

The company’s earnings material was still available through the Securities and Exchange Commission’s EDGAR website, as well as through a press release that was published online through Cision.

On a conference call with investors and reporters, Dish CEO Erik Carlson said the issue was an “internal outage” that impacted the company’s servers. The glitch affected a number of Dish’s internal computer systems, including one used for its information technology department’s phone lines, which further complicated matters.

Carlson said Dish’s satellite service and its streaming product Sling TV were not affected by the issue. But Dish’s consumer-facing website was offline most of Thursday, making it impossible for customers to pay their bills or make changes to their television programming packages.

“We’re analyzing the root causes and any consequences of the outage while we work to restore the affected systems as quickly as possible,” Carlson affirmed.

A person familiar with the issue told The Desk that the issue does not appear connected to a cyberattack or other cybersecurity issue, but wasn’t able to offer additional details beyond that. But others, including former employees, have disputed this, saying they were told to stay off internal systems and not connect their computers to the company’s networks. At least one former employee characterized the incident as a cyberattack, relaying information from colleagues who are still with the company.

The computer issue was the least of Dish’s problems: This week, the company revealed it dipped below the 10 million paid subscriber mark for the first time in nearly two decades, as it continued shedding customers at its satellite and streaming TV products.

The number of customers paying for Dish satellite TV fell to 7.42 million for the three-month period ending December 31, 2022, down from 7.61 million customers reported during the previous quarter. Sling TV subscribers fell to 2.33 million, down from 2.41 million over the same time period.

Still, the company’s stock jumped on news that Dish added 8 million customers to its fledging wireless phone and data startup. The company’s revenue was reported at $4.04 billion, helping its earnings per share (EPS) climb to $1.49 for the quarter, about $0.99 higher than what Wall Street analysts had expected.

The report helped push Dish’s stock price to $13.76 per share by the close of the trading day, a 5.2 percent increase compared to the previous day. Its stock price was down to $13.70 per share in after hours trading.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 11 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
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