NEW YORK (AP) — DirecTV (News - Alert) Group Inc., the nation's largest satellite TV operator, on Wednesday said it attracted more new subscribers in the fourth quarter than it has in a decade.
Shares of the El Segundo, Calif.–based company rose $2.23, or 5 percent, to $46.46 in pre–market trading. If the stock holds on to the gains in regular trading, it will surpass the all–time high of $44.64, hit Tuesday.
The company said it added a net 667,000 subscribers in the October to December period, reflecting strong performance both in the U.S. and Latin America.
In the U.S., it added 289,000 subscribers, more than double the 119,000 subscribers it added a year ago. It also exceeded analyst expectations around 250,000.
It's the strongest subscriber addition figure from a U.S. pay–TV company so far for the fourth quarter. Cable companies are losing subscribers to satellite and phone–company video services. The specter of substitution by Internet video also hangs over the industry.
DirecTV's net income was $618 million, or 74 cents per share. That compares with a loss of $32 million, or 3 cents per share, in the same period a year ago, when it took charges related to a merger.
Analysts polled by FactSet (News - Alert) expected earnings of 63 cents per share, on average.
Revenue grew 11 percent to $6.62 billion from $5.98 billion, beating the average analyst estimate of $6.52 billion.
At Latin American operations Sky Brazil and PanAmericana, DirecTV added 378,000 subscribers, to reach 5.8 million.
The U.S. total was 19.2 million, making DirecTV the second–largest pay–TV provider after Comcast (News - Alert) Corp.
Dish Network Corp., DirecTV's smaller rival, reports fourth–quarter results on Thursday.