Feb. 21 - Dish Network added 8,000 subscribers and generated more revenue per customer in the fourth quarter. The No. 2 satellite TV company shut down its remaining Blockbuster stores and took a stake in Hughes' broadband business. Fred Katayama reports.
The free iPad giveaways may have helped Dish Network add more pay-TV subscribers in the latest quarter. Dish boosted profit 38 percent by making more money off each of its users. It said it shut down its remaining Blockbuster video stores and DVD-by-mail service. And it took a big stake in Hughes' broadband business by transferring some satellites and cash to Hughes' parent. Wells Fargo Securities senior analyst Marci Ryvicker said: "we think this could be part of some strategic negotiations with other wireless/direct broadcast satellite players." Its earnings statement didn't mention what investors want to know most - what it'll do with all the wireless spectrum it's buying. As pay-TV growth slows, wireless could drive future growth. Dish is expected to be the leading bidder in the spectrum auction this month. Dish's stock shot up at the market open. Also out with earnings: Charter Communications swung to a profit from a loss. After losing a bid for Time Warner Cable, investors want to know what other cable players its backer, John Malone, will target next.