DirecTV Expects to Expand Film, TV Library Lineup

CFO Patrick Doyle also discusses the need to keep rising programming costs in check.

NEW YORK - DirecTV will look at building out its on-demand library of film and TV product in the near future, CFO Patrick Doyle told a Deutsche Bank investor conference Tuesday.

DirecTV has concentrated in recent months on rolling out its DirecTV Cinema service that offers access to 400 new movie releases via broadband.

Asked if the satellite TV company is possibly interested in beefing up its offer of older titles, like Netflix's streaming service offers, he said that current releases are in management's focus now, but library titles will become interesting soon.

"It will become more interesting as we get three, four, five, six million customers connected to broadband," he said. "Then, I think, it's easier for us to justify spending more of a fixed cost on the libraries and make it a more robust offering."

DirecTV finished 2010 just below a million broadband connections and targets 2 million more this year, Doyle said. "So, it won't be long before we start to build us some scale that will allow us to make decisions like that," he said.

At the same conference on Monday, cable executives had also discussed adding library content and improving customer interfaces amid Netflix's continued growth.

Doyle on Tuesday also once again emphasized that DirecTV will focus on controlling ever-increasing programming costs, with retransmission fees and sports costs being in particular focus. Retrans costs should in 2013 start reaching "more normal" type of increases that DirecTV would be comfortable with, he said.

Doyle also predicted that DirecTV will be making available more content in streaming form. Live sports and other programming that people need to see live will be the sweet spot, he said. He suggested that people won't need to see such shows as Two and a Half Men live, which led a Deutsche Bank analyst to quip about how that show may be history anyway following Monday's firing of star Charlie Sheen.