LAS VEGAS, January 8, 2004-- DIRECTV, Inc., a unit of Hughes Electronics Corporation (NYSE:HS), announced today at the International Consumer Electronics Show that its DIRECTV digital multichannel television service had its best quarterly performance in company history, adding 861,000 gross owned-and-operated customers in the fourth quarter of 2003. After accounting for quarterly churn, which was a monthly average of 1.45 percent, DIRECTV added 405,000 net new owned-and-operated customers in the quarter -- a 39 percent increase over the fourth quarter of 2002.
For the full year, DIRECTV added a record 3,006,000 gross owned-and-operated customers, and after accounting for full-year churn of a monthly average of 1.5 percent, 1,187,000 net new customers activated DIRECTV service in 2003. As of Dec. 31, 2003, DIRECTV had more than 12.2 million customers, including customers in National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative territories.
"Despite heightened competition across the entire pay television market, demand for DIRECTV was as strong as ever in 2003, and I compliment DIRECTV employees and our partner companies for a strong performance," said Mitchell Stern, DIRECTV president and CEO. "Consumers demand a quality television experience backed by exceptional customer service and it's clear that DIRECTV has met this demand. Nonetheless, we will continue to enhance our service and strengthen our operations to the benefit of our customers. As a result, we expect to continue to see robust growth in the year ahead."
Stern continued, "DIRECTV, with its superior choice and value, is the engine fueling growth in the multichannel video marketplace. In 2004 DIRECTV plans to introduce new high-definition programming channels, offer local channels in more than 90 percent of the country and debut new interactive services and advanced DIRECTV set-top receivers. We will give consumers the best television experience in the country and provide them with yet several more reasons to switch to DIRECTV from cable television."
Complete DIRECTV full-year and fourth-quarter financial results will be provided when HUGHES announces its fourth-quarter and full-year earnings next month.
DIRECTV is the nation's leading digital multichannel television service provider with more than 12.2 million customers. DIRECTV and the Cyclone Design logo are registered trademarks of DIRECTV, Inc., a unit of Hughes Electronics Corp. (NYSE:HS). Hughes is a world-leading provider of digital multichannel television entertainment, broadband satellite networks and services, and global video and data broadcasting. Hughes is 34 percent owned by Fox Entertainment Group, which is approximately 82 percent owned by News Corporation Ltd.
NOTE: Hughes Electronics Corporation believes that some of the foregoing
statements may constitute forward-looking statements. When used in this
release, the words "plan," "will," and "expect,"
and other similar expressions are intended to identify such forward-looking
statements and information. Important factors that may cause actual results
of HUGHES to differ materially from the forward-looking statements in
this report are set forth in the annual report on Form 10-K for the year
ended on December 31, 2002 filed with the SEC by HUGHES.