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DirecTV: Pay TV Nears Equilibrium

CFO Sees Subscriber Slowdown Across Spectrum 9/13/2012 4:59 PM Eastern

Coming off its first period of net subscriber losses ever in the second quarter, DirecTV chief financial officer Patrick Doyle said the  industry as a whole is gearing up for a slowdown in overall video subscriber growth.

DirecTV lost 52,000 net subscribers in the second quarter. At the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Communications and Entertainment conference in Beverly Hills, Calif. Thursday, Doyle said he expects overall customer growth to temper.

“We certainly are acclimating ourselves for a slowing market,” Doyle said at the conference. Doyle added that DirecTV’s second quarter losses were more due to its focus on attracting more affluent customers, those that buy advanced services as opposed to those that opt for the lowest-priced package available.

And he added that while cable companies are continuing to reduce their video losses – especially at Comcast – that is again more a reflection on the overall market rather than a “halo” effect of MSOs’ broadband offerings. 

“We’ve pulled back a little on our aggressiveness, you’re starting to see the telcos slow in their growth,” Doyle said. “In a mature market that is not growing, you’re going to reach equilibrium. I think more than anything else, you’re reaching that equilibrium.”

Later, Doyle said that a merger between DirecTV and the No. 2 satellite operator Dish Network would be good for consumers, but that the currently regulatory environment won’t allow it.

“Ultimately that's the combination that would be good for the consumer and should get done,” Doyle said. “But is that a year, or two years, or three years when it's even viable; a lot can happen in that time frame. Certainly we would be interested in that opportunity if it was achievable.”

September