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DirecTV on track in US, strong in Latin America – Dish dour and losing subs

The last two US pay TV operators that we usually have a long look at are Dish and DirecTV when they hand out their results

By PETER WHITE

Published: 11 November, 2010

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The last two US pay TV operators that we usually have a long look at are Dish and DirecTV when they hand out their results. Last quarter there were clear indicators that both had major successes south of the border in Latin America, or at least DirecTV, and Dish associate EchoStar did, in providing extra set tops to Dish Mexico.

DirecTV owns around 74% of Sky Brazil, 41% of Sky Mexico and 100% of PanAmericana, which covers most of the remaining countries in the region. Combined subscriptions went up to 5.43 million, up 206,000 net during the quarter, a bit of a drop from the last quarter’s rise of 435,00, but still ahead of the US, where it was only 174,000. This is because the soccer world cup was held in the Summer.

That amounts to 842,000 additions for the three quarters to date, compared to the 438,000 added a year ago.

Churn rose a fraction to 2% and DirecTV had to sell 525,000 gross subscriptions and lost 319,000 subs, to net out at 206,000. DirecTV said that there were strong gains in HD, DVR and pre-paid services, especially in Brazil, Argentina and Ecuador. The high churn it put down to people cancelling after the world soccer cup in July 2010.

DirecTV overall quarterly revenues were $6.03 billion for the quarter and net income $479 million, some of which were currency gains.

Dish put out hardly any details around its results, only to say that it had total revenues of $3.21 billion for the quarter up 10.9% and that net income was $245 million compared to $81 million in 2009. Dish lost 29,000 net subscribers during the quarter ending on 14.3 million subscribers.

It said in its 10Q that rivals were particular competitive and were slashing prices, and that its own churn was 1.98%, compared to 1.57% for the same period last year. It says it is still ahead year to date up 189,000 net subscribers over nine months compared to 173,000 up last year.

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