As the direct-broadcast satellite industry convenes upon
New York for the semiannual SkyFORUM Thursday (Sept. 16), DirecTV Inc. has good news for
The DBS market leader said last Wednesday that it added
141,000 net new customers in August, in addition to the 75,000 PrimeStar by DirecTV
subscribers it transitioned to the company's high-power satellite service.
Between medium-power and high-power services, DirecTV now
serves more than 7.5 million customers. At the end of August, DirecTV had roughly 1.9
million PrimeStar customers, after converting 152,000 of them to high-power over the past
DirecTV's 141,000 new high-power subscribers represent
a 40 percent increase over August 1998 acquisitions, the company said in a press release.
Its acquisitions are up 47 percent in the first eight months of the year compared with the
same period in 1998.
But the record growth has come at a cost to existing
subscribers, who have had difficulty reaching customer-service representatives in recent
months. The company has been adding hundreds of new CSRs each month in an effort to keep
up with the growth.
Rival EchoStar Communications Corp. is expected to release
its August subscriber count early this week.
Both DBS companies expect their growth to continue as they
move into the holiday season and add channel capacity following the launch of their new
satellites this fall.
The EchoStar V satellite was scheduled to launch this
morning (Sept. 13) from Cape Canaveral, Fla., following a weather-related delay in testing
procedures last week. And DirecTV plans to launch its DirecTV 1-R replacement satellite
sometime next month from an ocean-based site.
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