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DIRECTV CEO White Speaks Out!
By Swanni

Washington, D.C. (January 9, 2013) -- DIRECTV CEO Mike White addressed an investors conference yesterday in Las Vegas and he opened fire on a number of interesting and sometimes controversial topics.

For starters, White said his company added 100,000 net subscribers in the fourth quarter and that its churn, or cancellation, rate was better than expected.

"The U.S. business delivered 100,000 net adds. That was significantly above where we thought we'd be," White said, according to Reuters.

DIRECTV added 125,000 net subscribers in the 2011 fourth quarter and traditionally performs well in the fourth quarter thanks to a subscription drive for the NFL Sunday Ticket. However, the satcaster has frequently said it is reducing investment on such things as program acquisition which tend to attract new subscribers and keep old ones.

The satellite service is expected to reveal more details about its fourth quarter sub numbers when it releases its entire quarterly financial report in the spring.

The Hollywood Reporter writes that White also told the investors conference that an upturn in the housing market should soon eliminate the 'cord-cutting' movement. He said improved housing sales suggests consumers will have more money and will be able to better manage paying for a pay TV service such as DIRECTV.

“All of the data I’ve seen on housing says that over the next couple of years population growth is so far exceeding it that there has to be a bump in housing," White said.

Dow Jones Newswire reports that White told the investors conference that a rumored merger between DIRECTV and Dish would have 'strategic merit" and "synergies" but he cautioned no talks are ongoing.

"We're a long way from making this a substantive conversation that's not just pure speculation," White said, according to Dow Jones.

White has expressed concerns that federal regulators may not approve a satellite merger on grounds it would be anti-competition. The FCC nixed the deal in 2002 for the same reason.

Finally, according to Broadcasting & Cable, White said the $3 a month surcharge for regional sports channels will likely expand to more markets in 2013.

"I think you will see us continue to expand that, primarily in the 20 percent of America where you've got regional sports costs that are out of control. I don't see it as something you do 100% across the board. I think it's more for those metropolitan areas where sports are, in my mind, fairly high-priced. You've got to do something to try to recoup that cost from the consumer," White said.

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