DirecTV Uptake Accelerates in 4Q

DirecTV posted net income of $332 million on revenues of $5.3 billion for the last quarter of 2008. The satellite TV provider posted full-year income of $1.52 billion on revenues of nearly $19.7 billion. Revenues for both periods were up from the previous year 9 and 14 percent, respectively. Net income grew year-over-year by 5 percent, but fell by nearly 5 percent for the quarter.

The El Segundo, Calif., pay TV company said it added and retained 301,000 subscribers in 4Q, the biggest quarterly net sub growth it has recorded. For the year, DirecTV said it posted a gross addition of 3.9 million subscribers, the most in three years, at a 1.47 percent monthly churn rate, its lowest in nine years. After churn, DirecTV retained 861,000 new subscribers for the year, bringing its total to 17.6 million.

“The increase… was mainly due to growth in the direct sales and retail distribution channels due in large part to more competitive customer promotions and higher demand for HD and DVR services,” the company said.

The additional services boosted DirecTV’s (NASDAQ: DTV) average revenue per unit (how much it makes per subscriber for the period) for the quarter from $87.40 to $90.46, and from $79.05 in 2007 to $83.90 for the full 2008 year.

Shares of DirecTV jumped briefly on the positive news this morning, from around $22.60 to $22.53 before falling mid-day to around $22 as the market responded negatively to the $800 billion economic stimulus bill working its way to the president’s desk.