- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 4, 2010

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - DirecTV Inc., the nation’s largest satellite TV company, reports second-quarter results before the market opens on Thursday.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Barclays Capital analyst James Ratcliffe expects to see “modest” subscriber growth in DirecTV’s U.S. operations but “robust” increases in its Latin American satellite TV business partly due to the World Cup.

That’s because the U.S. is a mature market where about nine out of 10 TV viewing households already subscribe to cable, satellite or the TV service of a phone company. To get customers, subscription TV companies have to poach from a competitor.

Unlike its cable TV rivals, DirecTV still is adding subscribers, although at a slower pace than in previous years. It also has stepped up its promotions of late after satellite TV rival Dish Network Corp. began offering discounts.

WHY IT MATTERS: DirecTV serves 18.7 million U.S. customers. Among all subscription TV providers, DirecTV is second in size only to Comcast Corp.

WHAT’S EXPECTED: Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters forecast, on average, earnings of 60 cents per share on $5.73 billion in revenue.

LAST YEAR’S QUARTER: DirecTV, based in El Segundo, Calif., earned 40 cents per share on revenue of $5.2 billion.

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