DirecTV Scores Significant Subscriber Growth


DirecTV Group added 240,000 subscribers in the third quarter, a 45% increase from the year-ago period, and is on target to have 100 high-definition TV services by year-end, the company said Wednesday.

The nation’s largest satellite provider reported that as of the Sept. 30, it had 16.56 million total subscribers, a 6% increase over its 15.68 million subscribers in the year-ago period.

In the third quarter DirecTV gained 240,000 net subscribers, up 45% from 165,000 in the third quarter last year. Gross subscriber gains in the quarter were 1,032,000, versus 1,006,000 last year.

Gains at the satellite provider came as cable competitors, including Comcast Corp., Time Warner Cable and Mediacom Communications, have lost basic video subscribers.

The satellite provider’s monthly churn rate in the quarter dropped to 1.61%, compared with 1.80% in the prior-year period.

“The headline for the third quarter is that significantly greater sales of high-definition and digital video recorder services to higher quality subscribers are having an extremely positive impact on the key operating metrics that drive DirecTV’s value,” DirecTV president and CEO Chase Carey said in a statement.

 “The increase in gross additions to 1,032,000 was fueled by dramatic growth in the demand for advanced services — over 50% of new subscribers in the quarter signed up for HD and/or DVR services compared to only 28% a year ago,” Carey said. “The increased demand for advanced services was also a critical factor behind the large reduction in DirecTV’s monthly churn rate to 1.61% compared to 1.80% last year, representing one of the largest improvements in our history.”

Carey also said that DirecTV is on track with its HDTV expansion.

 “Similar to our third-quarter results, we’re expecting continued strong operating performance in the coming quarters as we continue to enhance the nation’s already-best HD service,” he said.

“We currently offer 74 national HD channels – more than any cable TV provider in the U.S. – and we remain on schedule to offer up to 100 channels around the end of the year,” he said.

In the third quarter, DirecTV’s revenue increased 18% to $4.33 billion and operating profit before depreciation and amortization1 increased 12% to $1.00 billion compared to last year’s third quarter.

Third-quarter operating profit of $566 million and net income of $319 million declined 10% and 14%, respectively, compared with last year’s third quarter. Earnings per share were $0.27 compared with $0.30 in the same period last year.