DirecTV Chief: Housing Bump Would Ease Cord-Cutting

Mike White | DirectTV
Jonathan Fickies/Bloomberg via Getty Images

2010 Pay: $32.9 million (first year in position)
DirecTV stock change for fiscal year: +19.7%

Speaking at an investor conference, CEO Mike White says that increase could come starting in 2014, but "you can't see it yet."

An upturn in the housing market, as experts are predicting, should alleviate some of the TV industry’s concerns over cord-cutting, DirecTV CEO Michael White said Tuesday.

“I don’t think you can say I’m not concerned about it,” White said at an investor conference when asked about customers who cancel their pay-TV services to save money. “On the other hand, you know, if a customer is paying us $90 today and they’re going to pay us $94, I don’t know that that in and of itself makes a difference.”

He said a stronger housing market is allegedly on the horizon, though the personal finances of Americans are nevertheless worrisome.

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“You can’t see it in our net subscriber numbers,” White said about an improving housing market and whether that might counteract the nascent trend toward cord-cutting, "but where I see it is in the credit scoring we do – say the bottom third from an income standpoint … it is tougher and tougher for them to pay their bills.”

White was speaking in Las Vegas at the Global Internet, Media & Telecommunications Conference on Tuesday.

“All of the data I’ve seen on housing says that over the next couple of years population growth is so far exceeding it that there has to be a bump in housing. But I can’t say that we’ve seen it yet,” he said. “A lot of what we’ve seen is more rentals, and we’re not as strong in the rental market.”

“All of the data I’ve seen,” he continued, “ suggests there’s going to be an increase, whether it’s in 2014, 2015 or 2016, and that would certainly help the industry.”