DISH Network (DISH - Free Report) is expanding integration with Amazon (AMZN - Free Report) voice assistant Alexa. The company recently added new Alexa voice control capabilities to its set-top boxes — Hopper, Hopper Duo, Joey and Wally.
The latest integration will now allow DISH users to not only play or pause but also to navigate, fast-forward, rewind and search content based on channel, title, actor or genre. Moreover, Alexa can be used to set recordings and launch apps like Game Finder, Netflix (NFLX - Free Report) , Pandora and YouTube.
The latest integration bodes well for both Amazon and DISH. While it helps Amazon to sell more Echo devices and Fire TV Cubes (set-top boxes need to be paired with these devices to avail Alexa), the expanded control features are likely to help DISH maintain its subscribers base.
DISH TV Losing Subscribers
DISH has been losing subscribers in its TV business, primarily due to matured video market in the United States, stiff competition and cord cutting. Growing adoption of streaming services like Netflix has been a major concern.
Notably, in the last reported quarter, net Pay-TV subscribers declined approximately 94K compared with a decline of roughly 143K in the year-ago quarter. Moreover, Pay-TV average revenue per user (ARPU) declined from the year-ago quarter’s figure of $86.55 to $84.50.
DISH believes that the additional control features of Alexa will help in improving users’ TV-watching experience and convenience. This will also boost engagement, thereby limiting the increase in churn rate. DISH TV's average monthly subscriber churn rate was 1.47% against the year-ago quarter’s 1.92%.
Moreover, we believe that DISH’s focus on acquiring and retaining subscribers that are profitable over the long term is paying off. The company’s excellent customer service has helped it win two J.D. Power awards. Improving retention bodes well for DISH’s top-line growth.
Sling TV Holds Promise for DISH
DISH’s Internet TV service — Sling TV — allows subscribers to stream on up to three different devices. This, coupled with solid programming content, is helping the company expand its subscriber base, which jumped 36% year over year in the last-reported quarter.
Moreover, ad sales almost tripled during March Madness, reflecting the targeted nature of the Sling TV service, which drives advertisers return on investment (ROI).
Further, Sling’s focus on attracting and retaining long-term, profitable and economically rational subscribers will continue to drive top-line growth in the long haul.
Zacks Rank & Other Stocks to Consider
Currently, DISH has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
Cable One (CABO - Free Report) is a stock worth considering in the same industry as it carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
Long-term earnings growth rate for Cable One is currently pegged at 3%.
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