EchoStar and DIRECTV, the two competing satellite broadcasters in the United States, have both announced increases in their number of subscribers.
EchoStar added around 325,000 new subscribers to its Dish Network in the first quarter of the 2005, bringing its total number of satellite customers to 11.23 million. The company reported total revenue of just over $2 billion, a 28% increase on the same period the previous year.
EchoStar is expanding its high-definition offering by adding ten of the original VOOM networks: RUSH, Gallery, Rave, Ultra, Equator, Monsters, Animania, Majestic, News and Guy TV.
DIRECTV added over half a million subscribers in the United States in the same period, an increase of over 20% on the previous year. The company signed up well over a million new accounts, but monthly churn of nearly 1.5% reduced the net number of additional subscribers. At the end of March, DIRECTV had a total of 14.45 million customers, a 14% increase on a year previously.
Quarterly revenues stood at $2.8 billion, up 35% on the previous year. The DIRECTV group as a whole reported quarterly revenues of $3.15 billion, narrowing operating losses to $41 million.
Chase Carey, president and chief executive of DIRECTV, said the company is moving quickly to enhance its service, launching three new satellites to allow it to introduce compelling new programming services. “We will roll out our new interactive digital video recorder in the summer, followed shortly thereafter by the launch of a suite of enhanced new services for our exclusive NFL Sunday Ticket package,” he said. At the end of the year the company will introduce a Home Media Center. “We believe that the enhancements we are making to our service will bring us closer to our goal of making DIRECTV the best television experience in the world.”