DirecTV Gains 327,000 Subscribers in Q3

Nov 05 2011


In early August DirecTV announced that they had added only 26,000 US subscribers in Q2, their lowest number of new subscribers ever. This announcement came on the heels of falling subscriber numbers for several major cable companies, which combined to give rise to some breathless stories about the growing threat of cord cutters and web video to subscription television services.

Fast forward to early November, and DirecTV has announced that they added 327,000 US subscribers in Q3, their best subscriber growth in years. Much of the credit was given to DirecTV's exclusive rights to NFL Sunday Ticket. The announcement highlights two important points. First, subscription television services are not in danger of going the way of the dodo in spite of the cord cutting rhetoric. Second, never underestimate the power of sports to encourage live television viewing. Someday, sports programming will be as simple to consume over the Internet as last week's episode of Glee, but in the meantime DirecTV and its ilk have an ace up their sleeve.

DirecTV (Nasdaq: DTV) stock surged Thursday morning after the top satellite TV provider said it added 327,000 U.S. subscribers during the third quarter--its best performance in five years. The gains were driven by demand for its exclusive NFL Sunday Ticket package, which had a record quarter for gross subscriber additions.



Anyone know if they are counting PS3 users who sign up for NFL Sunday Ticket as subscribers?

I don't expect so. I'm not familiar with the PS3 app, but the DirecTV conference call was providing subscriber uptake numbers for DirecTV. DirecTV was simply crediting NFL Sunday Ticket for the growth in their subscriber numbers. DirecTV provides NFL Sunday Ticket for free to subscribers of a certain level and above, though my understanding is that it was only for this year.

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