DirecTV’s Decision to Drop $10 HD Fee Boosts Earnings

Elimination of premium helped company retain net gain in subscribers

DirecTV announced its third quarter earnings on Thursday, reporting increased revenues AND a 27 percent jump in operating profit on strong subscriber growth in the U.S. and Latin America.

The company grew average monthly revenue per U.S. subscribers — a key metric for cable and satellite companies — by 4.3 percent during the period.

DirecTV also generated $64 million of net revenue with its sports networks — which were acquired in a deal with Liberty Media last year.

The company said that its decision to drop a $10-a-month premium for HD helped it retain a net gain in subscribers. The “NFL Sunday Ticket” accounted for nearly a quarter of DirecTV’s new subscribers in the last three months, the company said.

Overall, DirecTV nabbed 174,000 new U.S. subscribers during the third quarter — ending the period with 18.9 million. In Latin America, DirecTV has 8.2 million — including the 206,000 it gained during the quarter.