Subs Rise at DirecTV


DirecTV managed to keep up the subscriber growth momentum in the third quarter, adding 174,000 new customers in its domestic operations, fueled by advanced products like HD and digital video recorders.
Including its Latin American operations, net new subscribers rose by about 380,000 customers.
The U.S. results built on the momentum of the first two quarters of the year when the satellite giant added 100,000 net new subscribers in each three-month period.
The subscriber growth also translated into strong financial gains. Consolidated revenue was up 10.2% to $6 billion and operating profit before depreciation and amortization was up 10.1% to $1.5 billion. In the U.S. segment, revenue rose 7% to $5 billion and OPBDA was up just 1.1% to $1.2 billion, mainly because of costs associated with subscriber additions.
On a conference call with analysts, DirecTV CEO Mike White said customers taking advanced products drove growth for the period. For example, almost 50% of new customers took the HD-DVR product, up from 30% a year ago.
At the same time, contributions through its telco relationships are declining. White said on the call that telcos represented about 15% of gross additions in the quarter, vs. 25% a year ago. That decline is mostly due to the phone companies selling their own video products - U-Verse for AT&T and FiOS for Verizon, he added.
DirectTV's focus on high-end customers is paying off in other segments too. White said that the satellite giant saw pay-per-view revenue rise 30% in the period and the number of subscribers taking premium channels moved upward.