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DirecTV Execs Call Q3 Results ‘Solid’

El Segundo, Calif. — Chase Carey, president/CEO of the DirecTV Group, called the company’s third quarter “solid” in a conference call today and later said the “rest of ’08 will be one of continued progress.”

The call, which featured Carey and Patrick Doyle — who was promoted to executive finance VP today but who will also continue as chief financial officer — followed the company’s announcement this morning of higher revenues and net income for the third quarter.

Carey said economic pressures had increased and that he expects them to continue into the fourth quarter at a level that would be in line with the third quarter.

The executives said they are seeing an increase in the “quality” of their customer base and that they are focusing more on quality than quantity. They said they expect that close to half of their customers will be using advanced products by the end of this year.

DirecTV execs said they are seeing strong growth in HD. They later noted that competition has beefed up in that arena, but that they feel good about their position as a leader in the category. Going forward, they said DirecTV will continue to refresh their offerings with new packages as a way to keep the brand fresh. They said the most aggression they’re seeing form a competitive standpoint in HD had to do with package offerings. They also said they are nearing completion of the rollout of HD service which began about three years ago.

The executives said DirecTV now owns and operates about a third of DirecTV installers nationwide and that they had acquired or gained control of many of these businesses fairly recently. In turn, they said the company is dealing with the costs of some of these dealers right now, but that they made this effort as an attempt to improve the customer experience.

Finally, the executives said DirecTV is working on providing PC interactivity in the long term. They said they are testing these types of technologies with about 10,000 consumers now and that they will continue to develop them into 2009. The executives said the company has no plans to push these features with marketing any time soon.