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DIRECTV (DTV) Posts Better Than Expected Q4 Amid Drop In U.S. Subscriber Additions

 February 14, 2013 08:15 AM

(By Balaseshan) DIRECTV (NASDAQ: DTV), a provider of direct-to-home (DTH) digital television services, reported higher quarterly earnings and revenue amid a drop in net subscriber additions at its U.S. segment. Shares gained 2.59 percent in premarket on Thursday.

Net income attributable to DIRECTV increased to $942 million or $1.55 per share from $718 million or $1.02 per share in the year-ago quarter. Wall Street analysts, on average, expected earnings of $1.13 per share for the fourth quarter.

Revenue rose 8 percent to $8.05 billion, beating consensus estimate of $8.03 billion, driven by subscriber growth at DIRECTV Latin America (DTVLA) and DIRECTV U.S., as well as higher ARPU at DIRECTV U.S.

[Related -DIRECTV (NASDAQ:DTV): Tough Road Ahead As Costs, Competition Escalates]

The company's DIRECTV U.S. segment added 103,000 new subscribers in the quarter, down from 125,000 additions in the comparable period of last year due to lower gross subscriber additions. Gross additions fell mainly due to a greater focus on higher quality subscribers and stricter credit policies, the company said.

Average monthly subscriber churn decreased to 1.43 percent from 1.52 percent driven by a greater percentage of subscribers on commitments, auto-bill pay and with advanced equipment, as well as the stricter credit policies on new customers.

At the company's Latin America segment, net subscriber additions were 658,000, up from from 590,000 in the year-ago period.

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Total expenses increased 8.1 percent to $6.76 billion.

Operating profit margin shrank to 16.1 percent from 16.3 percent.

In addition, the company authorized new $4 billion stock repurchase program.

Shares of the El Segundo, California-based company closed Wednesday's regular session at $51.67. The stock has been trading between $42.87 and $55.17 over the past year.

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