DirecTV loses subscribers for 1st time

The company has turned its focus to improving its customer base and has tightened its customer credit standards.

By Kim Peterson Aug 2, 2012 6:16PM
Image: Watching television (© Corbis)DirecTV (DTV) has always made a huge push to grow subscribers, which helped it bump up its numbers every quarter.

But the company is changing its strategy: It's trying to improve the quality of its subscribers instead of focusing on new subscribers at any cost. It wants customers with better credit who pay more for add-ons like video on demand.

So the company has shifted its focus, and as a result it lost subscribers for the first time. The satellite TV provider said it lost 52,000 subscribers for the quarter ended June 30 to end at 19.9 million. That was more than the 36,000 loss analysts were expecting.

In fact, if it wasn't for Latin America, DirecTV's losses would have been worse. The company added 645,000 new subscribers in the region, higher than the 549,000 analysts were expecting.

The subscriber losses didn't stem from DirecTV's spat with Viacom (VIA), which happened after the June quarter ended. The dispute between the two companies knocked 17 channels off of DirecTV's airwaves for about 10 days in July.

In the June quarter, DirecTV said it tightened its credit standards for customers. It grew its monthly revenue per subscriber to $94.40 from $90.58 a year earlier.

DirecTV's main rival also lost subscribers, but not to the same extent. Dish Network (DISH) lost 10,000 subscribers in the same period, Reuters reports, beating analyst expectations. Time Warner Cable (TWC) said this week it lost 169,000 video subscribers in the same quarter.

Shares of DirecTV fell 2.6% Thursday to close at $48.80. The stock is about where it was a year ago, having recovered from a drop to below $41 last October.

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Aug 3, 2012 9:46AM

Direct TV is criminal. Receiver fees go up twice per year. You have to pay an unuaually high fee for "300+" channels and you only watch 5. 180 channels are infomercials, 110 are in spanish, 5 are local.


Show times run for 5 minutes then 5 minutes of loud commercials successively.They say they need to advertise to cover overhead, BS! Im sure the satelittes and towers are paid for by now. MTV doesnt have music anymore, it has interesting shows about rich kids with hard lives, homosexual's with hard lives, and underage pregnant "role-models" with hard lives.


Media everywhere is advertising and has become wasteful as a whole.

Aug 3, 2012 1:17AM
Those of you supporting DirTV.  You will be screwed like the rest of us.  Just wait.  I never missed a payment and was never late.  A loyal customer.  Then when I finally gave them the boot for the poor programming here in Georgia, and paid their final bill, they allege they had failed to bill me for a pay-per-view over 7 years ago!  I have NEVER used pay-per-view.  I attempted to talk to their service reps, but they were ****s.  I'm telling everyone about them and won't stop.  I'm an honest person.  If I had used pay-per-view, I'd pay for it.  I pay all my bills.  They are crooks and deserve to lose all their customers.
Aug 2, 2012 6:55PM
they should just let us pay for the channels we want instead of all the crap channels like cnn and nbc
Aug 2, 2012 6:29PM
More and more services are being provided that will make cable/satellite companies obsolete.  This is how the newspaper industry began their fall, with a slow dropoff in customers.  Then, boom!  The bottom fell out and many papers disappeared or had to restructure their whole business to electronic.  If DirecTv and Dish were smart, they'd begin doing everything they can to keep customers happy.  It's only a profitable business when you have what customers want for a competitive price.
Aug 2, 2012 7:36PM

I remember years ago complaining about the crap shown on TV, they said if we would pay for our TV we would get better quality shows and see what WE WANTED TO SEE.  O.K., so now we pay big bucks for Direct or Dish and we still get crap stuff ... channel after channel of advertising and selling "stuff" ... old movies and they are shown over and over and over.  Then they wonder why they are losing customers ?   give me a break.

Aug 3, 2012 1:02AM
My Direct bill has gone up almost triple in the last year. I use to have ALL the movie channels for years. Even got my whole family switched over 4 households. NEVER got the switch a friend or family discount. Question them about. Basicly told me tuff sh--. Started watching my bill and every month going up. Question them about it, they told me you had discounts you are no longer getting. And blamed it on Centurylink. No,Centurylink part of bill did not go up the Direct tv bill went up. Got 1 bill lowered and the next month it went UP $40.00. Called they told me nothing they can do. OK drop all the movie channels except HBO. Bill went down 1 month again.( NOT MUCH) Now in the last 3 months my bill has gone up almost $100.00. Call them again this time they were polite when they told me TUFF SH--. Went from all the movie channels to just HBO and now, I'm paying twice what I was when I had ALL the movie channels. BEEN A LOYAL CUSTOMER OVER 10 YRS. Making 1 more phone call tomorrow. After the 2 HOURS I'll spend on the phone with them, I'll be making a phone call to the Local NEWS station. They've had complaints they have been doing stories on. I've got all the Bills to show ALL THE INCREASES and REDUCED CHANNELS. IF THEY WANT MORE PUBLICITY HEAR IN ARIZONA, 3 ON YOUR SIDE NEWS WILL BE HAPPY TO LET THE PUBLIC KNOW HOW THEY TREAT THE LOYAL CUSTOMERS. Maybe it's time to quit wasting the phone calls to Direct tv and just go straight to your LOCAL NEWS STATIONS. THEY have alot of VIEWERS with the SAME ISSUES I'll bet.
Aug 3, 2012 12:40AM

Everyone needs to leave DirectTV.  They are CROOKS!  I gave them the boot 3 months ago and paid my final bill.  Then they sent me another bill for $49.95.  When I called them they said it was for a pay-per-view that they had failed to bill me for.  They wouldn't tell me the date it was supposedly for.  I NEVER EVER ordered or used pay-per-view, so I refused to pay.  They charged my credit card anyway.  I protested with my card company and DirectTV stated a pay-per-view was ordered 7 years ago and I had never been billed!  The credit company ruled in my favor and refunded my account.  Now DirectTV continues to send me bills.  Please, everyone, give them the boot now.

Aug 3, 2012 5:30PM
Directv needs to think about there long term customers, instead of focusing on getting new ones. Where are the discounts for long term members?
Aug 3, 2012 4:08PM
My hat is off to Direct TV.  Witha business plan for $90.00 ++ per customer/Mo. they know how suck in the customers with tons of crap programing and we sit there watching this junk with ad interruption every 7 to 12 min.  I have been dummied down by the whole industry and have rebelled.  Now have an antenna and get my info from the internet.  want a movie? buy it. rent it. or stream it.  Better yet get a Kindle and enjoy ad free reading.  That is enough!!
Aug 2, 2012 7:51PM
I am so tired of the long commercials. Less content, more commercials, be it on TV or Radio. I am also worn out on the so called "reality" TV crap. Who really cares about Goslin, Batchlorette, Great Escape, Snookie, Kardishans, Etc.? GIVE ME A BREAK!!!!! It's almost as bad as the Today Show, with no personalities, Matt and Al.
Aug 3, 2012 3:15AM
To the idiot who states"most of you are on welfare" How dare you.. My husband and I work very hard and have done so for the last 13 years that we have subscribed to Directv. Sometimes 2 and 4 jobs! Who do u think you are.. We have watxhed our bill go up over $90.00 in that time frame.. And don't even get me started about having to pay to watch NFL every Sunday. Did you remember how Directv offered new customers "FREE" NFL package last year to new customers?? As I have said for many years to Directv "take care of what you have in your customer base" and you will get new customers 3 fold back just by word of mouth from your customer base.. And how bout answering your phone Directv once in awhile and actually have someone on the other end that is knowledgeable, service friendly. I am tired of having to call and ask for a promotion.. Directv should know who their loyal customers are.. you print it on the bill every month and state "Thank-you for being a loyal customer" when you finally get someone on the phone. To you who thinks he can judge..... F--- You
Aug 2, 2012 8:09PM

This is what happens when you keep raising rates. 6 years I was with them until I had enough. I now have over 1000 DVD’s I watch what I want, TV today is nothing but a wasteland of reality TV crap.

Aug 3, 2012 1:52AM
Nobody is going to feel sorry for a cable company.
Aug 2, 2012 8:09PM

I am waiting for a cable provider who will let you choose the channels for your own package. Both Direct TV and Dish give you packages which force you to watch a lot of BullSh,,, channels!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Wellnot watch...but they include a lot of garbage in their package offerings. And I do mean a lot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

MaN, When will they improve?

Aug 3, 2012 9:20AM
I agree the quality of TV in general has nosed dived in my opinion.  But that's just my opinion.  I am 51 years old and I remember when you turned tv on and their was movies, westerns,lassie, flipper, the lone ranger, John Wayne, and I am sad now!   But the point is for an old coot like me their is truly nothing on anymore.  Hollywood left me a long time ago.  Sure Clint Eastwood and Sylvester Stalone got me back into it in the 80's and Steven Segal was a passing interest but where are the real cowboys anymore?  Where are the really good animal shows?  Even the Discovery channel and learning channel have become reality tv.  When I watch tv, unless it's learning about nature, I don't want reality! Sure I know John Wayne was not ten foot tall and bullit proof but he sure was in the movies!  Also what about all these infomercials.  They make entire shows out of programs aimed at saleling me some worthless piece of crap!  Their is a rock song that exemplifies what tv is today: "57 channels and their's nothing on."  Only today it's their is a hundred channels and still nothing is on!  I know the good old days were not as good as we pretend they were but at least, if you had a tv, their was something on it.  Good Day.
Aug 3, 2012 9:56AM
I work for a small cable company and I understand the anger with the cost of TV.  We also offer Internet and I agree with the thought that a good antenna and Internet connection has a chance to over take traditional pay TV model.  From my view the largest increase in cost for us is paying for content.  All the networks have automatic year over increase.  If you follow the money a few companies control most of the content.  ESPN, Disney, ABC are all the same company.  CBS, Viacom are the same way and then you have Fox News, Fox sports ect.  Watch the next time an annoucement is made for the cost that these guys pay for sports programming.  Anytime you see something such as CBS wins NCAA March Madness for 14 billion dollars know that you bill is going up.  That is just an example all broadcasters are involved in the same circumstance.  One problem I see is that when any of the networks win a large contract the price is inflated because the real cost of the new contract is just passed on down to the cable or satellite provider who then passes it on down to the consumer. If you can always pass on cost why be concered with what you pay? 
Aug 3, 2012 1:07AM
Our DirectTV dish was installed without being grounded, of course the first good lightening storm took out our TV and DVD player.  Representative sent admitted it was not grounded, after much calling and jumping through hoops our claim was denied.  Went to small claims court, lost.  Would have cost more than we lost to pursue it.  We are not fans and will get out when we can without losing any more money.
Aug 2, 2012 11:45PM

Though I think that Directv is the best system, I think the subscribers are getting screwed with their price raises.  They used to use the excuse that HD meant new equipment, etc.  With a nation-wide base of subscribers,  they have to be making money out the wazoo.  They could at least offer a Senior Citizens discount.  After all, that is all some people have for entertainment--tv. 

Aug 2, 2012 7:23PM

I've had Directv twice, the first time..and the last time. What stopped them from getting my money was not knowing how much they were going to charge for month to month basic service, every month was a different amount. If ever a box goes quits working, they will send out a technician at YOUR EXPENSE to tell you their equipment is shot. And they wonder why people are dumping them. 


There was a time when television was a pleasant past time after work, at dinner we wasn't allowed even have it on till after dinner. Then it was a family time of togetherness, how sweet it was!

Then came a new yet exciting format of  TV called cable, having more than local channels and

my favorite was channels from other states. It wasn't so complicated and affordable, now it seems the fat corperate dictator oppresses our TV privledges to HD and goodbye free TV so now we pay for a past past time. Very sad!!! I feel the people are geting sick of being told what we can and can't watch muchmore the rediculous rates they charge and these idiots just don't get it people are having hard financial times, money and work, high unemployment crime and no way of escaping through

TV. Since it's all we got to get away from it all at home.

 Mr. Dictator goes on and takes too much with little to offer, maybe we'll stick with the simple

 analog boxes and the hell with you, unless you work with us we'll work something more reasonable

rate that we all would be comfortable for company and customers.

Sincerely: Martin Stiles


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