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DirecTV Ups Q1 Profit 21%

5 May, 2011 By: Erik Gruenwedel

No update on consumer adoption of Premium VOD

DirecTV May 5 reported first-quarter (ended March 31) net income of $674 million, up 21% from net income of $558 million during the same period a year ago.

DirecTV has significantly upped its profile in recent years, aggressively pursuing sports (NFL) programming and in-home entertainment as the first multichannel video distributor to offer premium video-on-demand.

The financial results do not include premium VOD, which launched last month.

In a conference call, CEO Michael White said offering select studio titles 60 days after theatrical launch for $30 remained “exciting” and a great consumer “opportunity.”

“We’re very pleased so far and we’ll see how it goes,” White said, without elaborating. DirecTV did report a 30% increase in transactional VOD for titles typically released day-and-date with DVD and Blu-ray Disc.

White said the rollout of 3D programming remained a work in progress due to the small percentage of subscribers owning 3DTVs.

“You need to see a lot more 3D sets sold to see scale,” he said.

The El Segundo, Calif.-based satellite TV operator added 184,000 subscribers during the period, upping its membership base to 19.4 million from 18.6 million last year. The average sub bill was $88.79, up nearly 4% from $85.47. Churn, the percentage of subs dropping service, remained relatively flat at 1.5%.

Notably, DirecTV said it added a record 427,000 subscribers in Latin America, a region where Netflix reportedly is expanding streaming service.

Overall, revenue increased 13% to $6.3 billion.

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