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.

More from Top Stocks

Jun 1, 2013 11:38PM

Direct over billed me the very first month I was with them.  I called and called until I spoke with a person they called their top P.R. man.  There was no question that they over billed me,  basically he told me “tuff luck”.  I sent them a copy of the add I responded to and a copy of the contract I signed, they promised to correct the problem.  The promise was empty.  After 3 months of being over billed I called and told them to stop the service because I refuse to trade with crooks even though they charged me $300 for not fulfilling the contract. That was in the fine print and they charged me even though they did not live up to their written promise.  I knew it was not worth the effort to take them to court but I told them that they lost a  good customer  and many times the money they stole from my debit card.  I went to Dish.  I just have the basic package and they have never raised our bill in the 3 years we  have used their service.  I am happy with at least you can trust them to be honest with you.  At least that has been our experience.

Mar 18, 2013 8:01PM
DirectTV could eventually be the next Blockbuster or Hollywood Videos if it doesn't start realizing the value of it's loyal longtime customers.  Loyal longtime customer are paying extremely high outdate price for package while new customers are paying half the price.  While DirectTV doesn't even realize they are slapping their longtime customers in the face by advertising their awesome rate and deal to "ONLY" new customer.  Any company with real knowledge should realize that by believing they have the best product and note valuing they loyal customer this equates out to failed or falling business.  I myself am new to DirectTV but my parent have been with them for over 15 years and they are paying double my bill with less receivers and less channels.  My advise to my parent and any longtime customer is regardless how great a product is, being less valued for your loyal and great customer status, DirectTV should be dropped and that will open their eyes to what should be valued in their business not numbers.  If you have a great product it should be offered to the same price or if not lower to your longtime valued customers.  Before you know it, DishNetwork and Time Warner cable will be the new Redbox or Netflix and DirectTV will be the next Blockbuster.   
Aug 3, 2012 8:35PM
Been with DirecTV since 2007 and no big complaints except the price and that one of my "local" channels is from a station 150 miles away instead of the station 15 miles away. Have learned that if you bitch and complain when they do something wrong or there are problems, they will discount your bill $8.00 to $10.00 for a couple of months to make up for it. My bill is supposed to be about $102.00 but I haven't paid over $72.00 for the last 12 months. I am out of contract with them and I guess they want to keep their customers. I don't complain about petty things, but things like when I lost all my Viacom channels for 10 days. That got me an $8.00 credit for the next 4 months. I have complained that it is getting too expensive, which it is, because when I started with them my bill was $58.00 a month and nothing has changed except adding one more DVR, that should only add $6.00 more. They put a $15.00 credit for a year just for that. I'm just saying you can somewhat work out a price with them or at least get discounts.
Aug 3, 2012 7:45PM

I only have free tv. Had time warner, direct tv but they always added junk I would never watch and jack the price. Read once that

the normal person watched less than 12 stations so why does anyone have to pay for the other 180 stations. I say pay

for what you use.

Aug 3, 2012 7:42PM

I'm a new DirecTV customer and I can tell you one thing:  DirecTV needs to improve its customer service.  I tried to get a free trial of NFL SUNDAY TICKET removed from my account and they told me that there was no need to remove it because it was "free".  Of course, the part that they failed to mention was that it is "free" until they start charging you an extra $59.99.  And once the football season starts and they start charging you, you can't cancel until the end of the season.  So, the "free" trial will end up costing you about $200.  THANKS DIRECTV   !!!!!


Gee, I wonder what I am going to do once my 24-month agreement is complete?

Aug 3, 2012 7:23PM
Finally, people are wising up!  We need to return to free TV.
Aug 3, 2012 6:26PM
One of the issues I have wish DirecTV is with reception during storms. I live in Central Texas and during the spring we can get thunderstorms and occassionally tornadoes. As soon as a storm approches, I lose the dish signal. During regular storms its ok....but if there is a tornado in the area I'd like to have info on where it is heading. A few days after a severe storm I called DirecTv, told rep my situation and was told that they couldnt do anything. THey told me that next time there is a storm to give them a call so they could diagnose the problem. If there is an F3 heading for my home I seriously doubt calling DirecTv will be on my mind.  
Aug 3, 2012 6:26PM
One of the issues I have wish DirecTV is with reception during storms. I live in Central Texas and during the spring we can get thunderstorms and occassionally tornadoes. As soon as a storm approches, I lose the dish signal. During regular storms its ok....but if there is a tornado in the area I'd like to have info on where it is heading. A few days after a severe storm I called DirecTv, told rep my situation and was told that they couldnt do anything. THey told me that next time there is a storm to give them a call so they could diagnose the problem. If there is an F3 heading for my home I seriously doubt calling DirecTv will be on my mind.  
Aug 3, 2012 6:09PM

"It grew its monthly revenue per subscriber to $94.40 from $90.58 a year earlier."


$94.40/month?!  No thanks, I'll stick with my hulu and netflix subscriptions at 8 bucks a piece.

Aug 3, 2012 5:51PM
One market that the satellite providers can't penetrate are those residential customers who do not have a clear view of the south western sky.  I would consider satellite TV but I am surrounded by trees 70 to 120 feet high here in NE Pa.  More urban residents can't get a signal because there are other structures in the way.  Until the satellite TV people figure a way around these issues, cable TV will (unfortunately) reign supreme in these markets.


I have been a DirecTV customer for 12 years. They have the best sports airing out there.  Last week someone deceided that Hot Pass for Nascar needs to be broadcast in HD.  This is $10.00 a month jump to our already $95.00 we pay now.  Guess what I am now on a fixed income and what is paid now is all there is.  Have to do without now to pay you.  If we had been given some notice, maybe.  For this to happen in the middle of the Nascar season is cruel and heartless.  As a loyal customer, I am not valued customer, therefore what I have to do without is of no consequence to your way over paid exeuctives.  Thanks a bunch.

Aug 3, 2012 5:41PM
Direct TV and Dish Network  are in a sense the same company as they both share the same satellites for programming .... and the satellites are owned by  EchoStar  which  was a Parent  Company of Dish Network ,  EchoStar and Dish Network  still share the same  Chairman of the Board  who was the founder of EchoStar  ......  so all  the nonsense  about who has the better plan is a self created competition to fool the consumer  into which one to choose ..... even Comcast gets it's 'digital cable "  programming initially from a SATELLITE  , owned by GUESS WHO above . It's all a consumer sham in my opinion.
Aug 3, 2012 5:34PM
Been a DISH subscriber for 15+ years. No complaints. Have friends who have cable systems and Direct TV...and they have had plenty of complaints. Think I'll stick with DISH!
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 5:25PM
If all of them kept their rates at an affordable level, quit trimming programming and PAID ATTENTION TO SUBSCRIBERS THAT STAYED WITH THEM FOR A LONG PERIOD OF TIME they wouldn't lose ANY subscribers.  It is because they are ALL GREEDY and it forces people to dump one and take a deal from another!
Aug 3, 2012 5:21PM
What most of you don't understand is that the companies that own TV stations are the greedy ones! They impose massive hikes for thier services once the contract is up. Do you notice all these arguments (not limited to DirecTV either) with Dish & A&E, D*TV @ Viacom etc.? The revenue stream from commercials isn't bringing enough money, so these companies go to the cable & satellite providers & damand more coin for thier channels. So what happens? It's passed on to us. Something has to give in time because people will not pay $200.00 a month for 100 channels, let's face it. The companies that own the TV stations don't want to take a hit, so they expect us to! I'm stunned they are so many uninformed people out there complaining about the TV providers! I feel DirecTV is the best out there @ the moment! Did you ever, ever get a credit from Comcast? Please! At least D*TV will try & work with you & give you say $20.00 off for 6 months. Comcast...No way!    
Aug 3, 2012 4:41PM

Well, they recently lost our family. We had been with them for a decade. Asked if there were any deals available since our monthly tab was around 200 bucks. They said best they could so was 10 bucks off for six months. See you later.

Aug 3, 2012 4:32PM

Recently moved into a new home, I called Directv to have the dish installed that went without a hitch. I had to listen to there high pressure sales representive trying to sell me something I didn't want.

I was offered at no cost the Stars/ Showtime Package free for thirty days, when I received my next billing statement it was not free, they charge me for the first thirty days, after speaking with 3 service reps and getting no where, I was told I couldn't cancel because thirty days hadn't passed when it was suppose to be free, and that if I cancel at that point, there was going to be a $10 charge.


Let them keep on doing this, The Cable and Satelite industry has to change to something the customers wants.    It will be there downfall in the future.....People need to start dumping these high pressure companies. We need to start having packages for programming we want, for for overpriced packages they want to shove down our throats.


Directv.....Im outta here when the contract is over..


Too damn bad!  Maybe companies like this should lose MORE customers until they get the premiums lowered a bit!  Lose more customers though, they'll just up the bill for the rich to pay!  Only in America!  Greed, greed and more greed!  When is enough enough?
Aug 3, 2012 4:16PM
DirecTV is awesome compared to AT&T, Time Warner and Cox Cable. Tried them all and always came back to DirecTV. They all suck to some extent though. My favorite thing about all of them is they try to charge you for the equipment that is mandatory for their service, yet only works for their service. Why would I pay for that on top of paying you a monthly fee to use it, which also includes a per box fee????
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.


StockScouter rates stocks from 1 to 10, with 10 being the best, using a system of advanced mathematics to determine a stock's expected risk and return. Ratings are displayed on a bell curve, meaning there will be fewer ratings of 1 and 10 and far more of 4 through 7.

124 rated 1
266 rated 2
452 rated 3
702 rated 4
671 rated 5
604 rated 6
640 rated 7
495 rated 8
267 rated 9
158 rated 10

Top Picks




Top Stocks provides analysis about the most noteworthy stocks in the market each day, combining some of the best content from around the MSN Money site and the rest of the Web.

Contributors include professional investors and journalists affiliated with MSN Money.

Follow us on Twitter @topstocksmsn.