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DirecTV US 2Q revenues increase 12% to $3.3 billion

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MUMBAI:The DirecTV Group Inc. today reported that the second quarter revenues increased 10 per cent to $3.52 billion and operating profit nearly doubled to $977 million compared to last year's second quarter.

The Group reported second quarter 2006 operating profit and net income both more than doubled to $741 million and $459 million, respectively, when compared to the same period last year.

Earnings per share were $0.36 compared with $0.12 in the same period last year. These operating results include the effect of $253 million of equipment that DirecTV US capitalized during the quarter under its lease program, which was implemented 1 March 2006, according to an official statement.

"Similar to recent quarters, DirecTV US generated excellent financial results highlighted by a 12 per cent increase in revenues to $3.3 billion, a 93 per cent increase in operating profit before depreciation and amortization to $977 million and a nearly tripling of cash flow before interest and taxes to $450 million," said DirecTV Group president and CEO Chase Carey.

"In many ways, the results in the quarter reflect our strategy to target higher quality subscribers. For example, although gross subscriber additions of 863,000 and net additions of 125,000 in the quarter were below expectations, it's important to note that we added 11 per cent more higher quality gross subscribers in the quarter compared to last year," said Carey.

"This trend -- which is driving both the top-line and bottom-line financial results -- is primarily due to the ongoing changes we're making to refine our credit policy and dealer network. These factors played an important role in reducing DirecTV's monthly churn rate from 1.69 per cent to 1.59 per cent this quarter."

"In addition, customers are buying more premium services such as high definition programming and digital video recorders which is contributing to the strong ARPU growth of 5.6 per cent in the quarter."

On 1 March 2006, DirecTV US introduced a set-top receiver lease program primarily to increase future profitability by providing DirecTV US with the opportunity to retrieve and reuse set-top receivers from deactivated customers. Under this new program, set-top receivers are capitalized and depreciated over their estimated useful lives of three years.

The amount of cash DirecTV U.S. paid during the quarter ended 30 June 2006 for leased set-top receivers totaled $253 million -- $153 million for subscriber acquisitions and $100 million for upgrade and retention.

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