Not so long ago, analysts looked to DirecTV‘s Latin American operations for encouraging signs about the company’s future while the U.S. business started to stall. But most of the upbeat surprises in Q3 were in the U.S. as DirecTV benefited from Time Warner Cable’s battle with CBS — and comparisons with last year when the No. 1 satellite company suffered from its own fight with Viacom. DirecTV’s net income of $699M is +23.7% vs the period last year on revenues of $7.88B, +6.3%. Analysts thought the top line would be a little lower, at $7.85B. Earnings at $1.28 a share were well ahead of forecasts for $1.02. The U.S. operation seemed to be on track with subscriptions up nearly 1% vs last year to 20.16M, ahead of expectations. Domestic revenues grew 7% to $6.17B due to price increases and higher pay-per-view sales — offset somewhat by promotional discounts. The average monthly revenue per sub increased 6.2% to $102.37. The operating profit margin also grew to 16% from 15.2% as cost controls helped to take the sting out of price increases for programming. The good news in Latin America includes the settlement of a dispute with Brazilian officials over performance rights fees that cost less than DirecTV anticipated. But for the most part the region fell short of investor expectations. Subscriptions were up 17.3% to 11.34M — some analysts were looking for about 11.45M. Revenues in the region were +5.4% to $1.66B with an operating margin of 15.8%, up from 14.0%.
CEO Mike White says that DirecTV extended “our position as the world’s largest Pay TV service by leveraging the strength of our premier brands and our differentiated suite of products and services across the Americas to drive industry leading growth.”