Washington, D.C. (March 8, 2013) -
Patrick Doyle, DIRECTV's chief
financial officer, says only three million, or 15 percent, of
DIRECTV subscriber boxes are connected to a Broadband Internet
Doyle made the disclosure this week at the Deutsche Bank media
The 15 percent total is low, particularly when compared to cable
and telco TV operators who offer both Internet and video
service. (Comcast has more than 18 million Broadband
subscribers.) DIRECTV does not have its own Internet Service so it
must rely on subscribers finding other services to connect to
the Net -- and that's been a tricky and thorny problem for the satcaster for several years.
DIRECTV has invested heavily in a Broadband-enabled Video on
Demand service called DIRECTV Cinema, but buy rates have been
slowed by its low number of Broadband-connected set-tops.
NPD Group this week
estimated that DIRECTV and satellite rival Dish, which also does
not have an Internet service, generated an average of just
$10.33 per subscriber in Video on Demand revenue in 2012. That's
an average of just slightly more than two HD films for the
entire year, considering that DIRECTV and Dish's VOD cost for HD
movies start at $4.99.
In contrast, Verizon and AT&T, both of which offer Net service
as well as video service, averaged $25.29 in VOD revenue per
subscriber in 2012. Cable operators, which also offer both Net
and video services, averaged $13.83.
At the Deutsche Bank conference, Doyle also noted that DIRECTV
is developing 'Voice Search' and 'Program Discovery' programs
that require Broadband connections.
"The more we connect, the more
interactivity we can get with the customer so that they can be
watching a show and doing other things, whether it's weather or
interacting with the show," Doyle said.
On the bright side, DIRECTV said a year ago that it
two million subscriber boxesconnected to the Net so
the company has added one million in 12 months. Doyle said
DIRECTV's next goal is to get Broadband on four million
Part of DIRECTV's problem is that the satcaster does not offer a
set-top that includes built-in Wi-Fi that would easily enable a
subscriber to connect to the net via his or her home network.
But DIRECTV reportedly will launch a wireless HD DVR later this
year, perhaps as early as this spring.