DirecTV Gains 327,000 Subscribers in Q3


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.