DirecTV Q3 profit jumps


DirecTV on Thursday said its quarterly profit grew 14% year-over-year, but Wall Street gave the company little credit for the weak-economy feat.

The nation's largest satellite TV company posted third-quarter net income of $363 million on revenue that grew 15% to $4.98 billion.

"We are in a tough economy and a competitive environment," CEO Chase Carey told analysts during a conference call.

The company added 156,000 net new U.S. customers, bringing its total to 17.3 million, but that was way down from the 240,000 it added in third-quarter 2007. Investors also were spooked by a churn rate that rose a bit to 1.64%.

The results were about in line with the predictions of some analysts, yet few were suggesting that their customers buy the stock Thursday.

"We do not expect the stock to outperform its peers today," Goldman Sachs analyst Ingrid Chung said.

DirecTV blamed some of its slowing growth on a faltering economy and some on a distribution agreement with AT&T that ended in April but will return in February.

The company got a boost from its Latin America business, which posted a 49% leap in revenue to $658 million.

Shares of DirecTV, now controlled by John Malone's Liberty Media, sunk significantly Thursday before a late-day rally had the stock closing off only fractionally to $20.76.

DirecTV is the latest in a string of pay TV services to see its business dented by a sinking overall economy. (partialdiff)