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DBS Providers Top 13.7M Subs

The nation’s two direct-broadcast satellite (DBS) operators recently reported continued growth surges for third-quarter 2000.

Hughes Electronics Corp. re-ported its DirecTV operation gained 450,000 net new subscribers in the third quarter, to give the system a total of 9 million subscribers through Sept. 30. Through the first nine months of 2000, DirecTV grew 37 percent in its core urban/ suburban markets, which exclude rural territories served by the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative.

DirecTV’s gross additions for third-quarter 2000 rose over 40 percent in the nation’s top 10 markets and more than 50 percent for the top five cities, all of which offer local TV services. DirecTV reported a churn rate of 1.7 percent for the quarter, which the company attributed to its price increase.

EchoStar, meanwhile, reported a net gain of 455,000 new subs for the third quarter, bringing its estimated total subscriber count to 4,755,000 through Sept. 30. EchoStar said net third-quarter subscriber growth jumped 21 percent.

EchoStar also reported that gains in October and November recently put total subs over the 5 million mark. Its Dish Network was said to have captured more than 58 percent of all new DBS TV subscribers during the first nine months of the year, according to an EchoStar statement.