After Good 2001, DirecTV Expects Big 2002

Discussion in 'DIRECTV General Discussion' started by -, Jan 9, 2002.

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    After reporting that its DirecTV unit acquired 1.3 million customers during 2001, executives with Hughes Electronics said they expect the satellite TV provider to add another 1 million viewers in 2002.

    Hughes CEO Jack Shaw made that forecast Tuesday at Salomon Smith Barney's Entertainment, Media and Telecommunications conference. During the day, DirecTV reported that it added 405,000 net new customers in the fourth quarter, taking its total customer base to 10.7 million. Growth in 2001 represented a 13 percent increase over the 9.5 million customers reported at the end of 2000, the company said.

    Shaw told attendees at the conference that fourth quarter numbers exceeded internal projections, which had the satellite TV service acquiring between 260,000 and 360,000 net new subscribers. The new customer growth is also significant in that during the fourth quarter DirecTV required new customers to take a 12-month commitment for the first time.

    The Hughes exec also boasted about DirecTV's effort to deliver local channels under must-carry rules. Shaw said DirecTV added 220 new local channels on Jan. 1, the day must-carry rules became effective.

    In addition, Shaw and DirecTV Chairman Eddy Hartenstein defended their pending merger with EchoStar. Hartenstein said the deal not only "unlocks tremendous synergies for shareholders, it's also a good deal for consumers," since a combination of DBS assets would make better use of satellite spectrum and create significant cost-savings.

    Shaw also reminded the audience that the EchoStar/Hughes merger is fully-financed, and that EchoStar's other deals - such as the one with Vivendi Universal - gives the transaction the backing it needs.

    From <a href="" target=none>SkyReport</a> (Used with permission)
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