What recession? DirecTV posts robust results

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DirecTV Group continued to sign up subscribers at a solid pace during fourth-quarter 2008, prompting an analyst to say the satellite TV firm has been "impervious" to the deepest U.S. recession in decades.

"We've been immune to a lot of the economic pressures," though DirecTV has seen weakened advertising-revenue momentum, CEO Chase Carey said Tuesday during a conference call, adding that his firm will not be able to avoid an economic hit completely.

"I expect the economy to put pressure on us," Carey told analysts.

El Segundo, Calif.-based DirecTV reported a fourth-quarter profit of $332 million, down 4.6% from the year-ago period on higher marketing and installation costs. Revenue rose 9% to $5.31 billion. Both figures fell slightly short of analysts' expectations, but subscriber growth exceeded estimates.

The company added 301,000 net new U.S. users during the quarter, making for its biggest quarterly gain in more than three years. (partialdiff)
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