Dish Network Corp., the low-cost leader in a subscription-TV industry where growth comes from taking customers away from competitors, lifted fourth-quarter revenue by attracting budget-conscious customers with aggressive promotions.

As a result, the nation’s second-largest satellite TV operator added 249,000 net subscribers during the quarter while several of its cable TV rivals lost ground. The increase in customers overshadowed a 17.5 percent drop in net income to drive shares higher by $1.29, or 6.5 percent, to $21.26 in afternoon trading on Monday.

Dish said Monday that it earned $179 million, or 40 cents per share, in the quarter compared with $217 million, or 48 cents per share, in the prior year’s quarter. The results exceeded the 32 cents per share in earnings that analysts had been expecting on average, Thomson Reuters said.

Revenue rose by 1.4 percent to $2.96 billion, just slightly ahead of the $2.94 billion expected by analysts.

Investors focused on subscriber growth because it marks a continued turnaround at Dish. Starting in the second quarter of 2008, the company endured four straight quarters of subscriber declines — the first reductions at the company since its founding in 1996. Now, the company has increased its customer count for three quarters in a row.

Last year, Dish mounted an aggressive advertising campaign that targeted fellow satellite TV operator DirecTV Inc., claiming that Dish’s TV plans are cheaper. DirecTV said Dish compared plans that were not similar and sued for false advertising. The case is pending. The fight between the two is unusual; typically they’ve targeted their chief nemesis, cable TV.

Dish said customers paid an average monthly bill of $70.04 in the quarter.


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