TAMPA, Fla. — Dish Network said its CEO Erik Carlson is resigning Nov. 12 ahead of the broadcaster’s merger with EchoStar, its sister company focused on providing broadband services from space, after posting a steep drop in satellite TV customers.

Announcing earnings results Nov. 6, Dish Network said net pay-TV subscribers fell by about 64,000 in the three months to Sept. 30 to 8.84 million, split between 6.72 million for its DISH TV satellite broadcast business and 2.33 million for its SLING TV streaming service.

The Englewood, Colorado-based company had added 30,000 pay-TV subscribers during the same period last year — typically a strong quarter for the company in the run-up to NFL and college football events in the United States.

However, growing competition from other streaming services saw Dish Network’s revenues for the third quarter of 2023 fall nearly 10% year-on-year to $3.1 billion.

The company also posted a net loss of $139 million, compared with $412 million in net income earned in the year-ago quarter.

To diversify revenues Dish Network has been heavily investing in a 5G network across the United States that it hopes to better support by combining with EchoStar, which is sitting on around $2 billion in cash reserves. Both companies are controlled by billionaire Charlie Ergen.

EchoStar reported a 17% year-on-year fall in revenues for the three months to Sept. 30 to $413.1 million as it waits on Jupiter-3, the operator’s latest satellite slated to enter service in December to relieve capacity constraints that have been holding back subscriber growth.

Hughes Network Systems, EchoStar’s internet provider subsidiary, has about 1.6 million subscribers after declining 65,000 from the end of 2022.

EchoStar reported $37.4 million in net income for the third quarter of 2023, down $19 million year-on-year.

Dish Network and EchoStar said they intend to complete the merger before the end of 2023 when it was announced in August, and did not provide an updated timing Nov. 6.

Carlson was due to step down once the transaction closed to make room for EchoStar CEO Hamid Akhavan, who would serve as CEO of the combined company. 

Dish Network said Carlson notified the company of his decision to resign Nov. 3, adding that he will remain on the board through the closing of its merger with EchoStar.

In October, the companies amended their all-share merger deal so that EchoStar, rather than Dish Network, would be the surviving entity and stock.

Jason Rainbow writes about satellite telecom, space finance and commercial markets for SpaceNews. He has spent more than a decade covering the global space industry as a business journalist. Previously, he was Group Editor-in-Chief for Finance Information...