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DirecTV Reports 46% Q1 Profit Decline

El Segundo, Calif. – DirecTV Group reported Thursday that profit declined 46 percent in the first quarter on higher programming and promotional costs in the U.S. and Latin America.

The satellite TV provider, which announced this week that it will soon be combined with broadcasting and programming assets of Liberty Entertainment and spun off, said it saw a profit of $201 million in the quarter compared with $371 million in the same period a year ago.

First quarter programming costs rose 7 percent and promotional expenses climbed 22 percent as DirecTV

stepped up its marketing initiatives to take on more aggressive marketing campaigns from rival Dish Network, telcos and cable operators including Comcast.

Revenue rose to $4.9 billion from $4.6 billion in the previous year’s first quarter, the company said. Net subscriber additions were 460,000, which was 67 percent higher than in first quarter of 2008.

The company attributed the subscriber increase to “more competitive customer promotions and higher demand” for high-definition TV and digital video recorder services.

DirecTV’s total subscribers at the end of the first quarter were 18.1 million.