Advanced Television

DirecTV nets 275K subs in Q1, more buybacks

May 6, 2008

DirecTV netted 275,000 customers during the three-month period, taking its customer count past the 17 million mark. DirecTV cited its ongoing HD programming push for part of the success, with CEO Chase Carey saying the company’s strategy “of offering the best television experience to higher quality customers continues to drive superior financial results.”

In addition to the subscriber gains, there was strong APRU growth to $79.70, up from $73.40 reported for the same quarter last year. Average monthly subscriber churn fell to 1.36 per cent in the first quarter, compared to 1.44 per cent for the same period last year.The Group said first quarter revenues increased 17 per cent to $4.59 billion, when compared to the same period last year. Net income of $371 million jumped 10 per cent when compared to first quarter 2007 numbers.

Looking to gain from what it says is the market's under valuation, DirecTV said it plans to raise $2.5 billion in new debt to buy back stock. This despite the credit crunch, but the company believes its strong balance sheet will reassure lenders.

As part of the buyback plan, DirecTV’s biggest shareholder, John Malone’s Liberty Media Corp., agreed to cap its voting stake in the company at its existing level of 48 per cent. Without the cap, Liberty’s voting stake would have gone past 50 per

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