Hughes Electronics Corp. last week reported that its
revenues increased more than 16 percent in 1998, due largely to the growth of its DirecTV
Inc. direct-broadcast satellite business.
Domestic DirecTV revenues rose 45 percent last year, to
$1.604 billion, after the company added 1.157 billion net new subscribers in the United
States. DirecTV's operating loss was $228.1 million in 1998, compared with $254.6
million in 1997.
DirecTV's revenues for the fourth quarter were up 36.5
percent in 1998 over 1997 figures for the same quarter.
At DBS-programming partner U.S. Satellite Broadcasting,
revenues rose 20.6 percent in 1998, to $550.8 million. The company's net loss for the
year was $56.5 million.
By the end of the year, USSB was serving just over 2
million paying subscribers. Its average monthly revenue per subscriber during the fourth
quarter was $23.58.
The company said its subscriber acquisitions were
negatively impacted in the fourth quarter when its primary telemarketing-services vendor,
National Market Share, discontinued operations in November without prior notice to USSB.
Fingerhut Business Services Inc. picked up the business, the company said in a press
USSB also contended that consumer confusion surrounding the
company's announced merger with DirecTV may have impacted USSB sales.
Stock prices for USSB fluctuated somewhat after the company
released its financial results last Thursday, and they were down slightly at press time
around midday. USSB's stock has risen in value dramatically since DirecTV announced
that it would buy the company.
If and when the merger deal with DirecTV is finalized, USSB
shareholders will have the option of trading some of their USSB shares for Hughes stock,
instead of for cash.