DirecTV Boosts Subscriber Base as Murdoch Salivates

17 January 2001

America’s leading satellite TV operator DirecTV added 527,000 homes in the last three months of 2000, bringing its total US subscriber base to 9.5 million. Year-on-year revenues also increased by over 30 percent, with Q4 losses falling to $60m from $284m in the same period last year.

DirecTV parent Hughes Electronics said that the year had ended with an exceptionally large backlog of 111,000 dish installation orders, implying that but for the delays caused by severe winter weather, the broadcaster’s current subscriber tally would be even greater.

Thanks to DirecTV’s burgeoning operations in Latin America, satellite TV revenues for the quarter grew 25% per cent to $1.5bn. EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes and amortization) cash flow was $16.4m, compared with a negative $24m.

The news will have further stimulated the salivary glands of NewsCorp tycoon Rupert Murdoch who is widely believed to be marshalling his resources to mount a potential $40 billion bid for DirecTV [WAMN: 16-Jan-01]. As one senior NewsCorp staffer commented: “The financial people are looking under every rock for money.”

News source: Financial Times