DirecTv Slashes 2nd-Qtr. Deficit As Revenue Doubles To $870M

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DirecTv sharply slashed its operating deficit as it doubled its revenue in the second quarter of this year.

The earnings report for the period issued by DirecTv's parent Hughes Electronics shows the operator of the largest digital direct-to-home satellite service had an operating loss of $6.8 million for the quarter. While that was well below the $16.7 million deficit of the same period last year, it marks a reversal of its achievement of an operating profit of $3.9 million in this year's opening quarter.

The earnings drain stemmed from the company's international operations, as its domestic DTH business had an operating profit of $13 million. That was up from earnings of $12 million last year, a gain the company said reflected its addition of USSB and Primestar subscribers (see report in the Video section on page 16.) Sales for the quarter jumped 116.7% to $870.2 million, with domestic revenue up 111.4% to $778 million.

For the first half, DirecTv had an indicated operating loss of $2.9 million, down from the $25.8 million deficit of the same 1998 period, and an 80.7% revenue climb to $1.43 billion. The domestic DTH service had a 90% jump in operating profit to $38 million and a 73.6% growth in revenue to $1.25 billion.

Hughes itself had a consolidated second-quarter loss of $92.3 million, stemming from a $125 million charge taken against its commercial satellite business for increased development costs and penalties related to launch delays.

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