The US’s leading provider of HDTV has credited its 95 channels of HD content as one of the main reason for increasing subscribers even as the economy falters.
Paul Guyardo, DirecTV’s chief marketing officer, said the company had not been greatly affected by the US economic slowdown.
DirecTV added 275,000 subscribers in the first quarter, compared to just 35,000 for rival Dish Network.
He attributed the satcaster’s market-leading HD offering as a major factor in the increase.
“I don’t want to say that we are recession-proof, but I will say that we have not been dramatically affected by the recession,” Guyardo told Advertising Age.
“Right now is a time when people don’t necessarily have those discretionary dollars to go out to entertainment outside of the house.
“And so now more than ever, they’re turning to their television as a source of entertainment. And at the end of the day, DirecTV is an exceptional value.”
Guyardo said that DirecTV launched an aggressive marketing campaign last year to promote its expanded HD lineup, at a time when many consumers were starting to tighten their belts.
The satcaster expanded its high-def channel total from nine to more than 70 last Autumn.
“All of our awareness studies would suggest that people clearly do understand that DirecTV is the undisputed leader in HD,” he said.
Despite adding only a small number of new high-def channels this year DirecTV is currently the leading US provider of high definition TV programming.
With a new satellite due to come on-stream, it is unlikely to lose the top spot in the near future and is expected to expand its current offering of 96 national HD channels.
Dish Network lies in second place, with approximately 80 channels, while the cable operators Comcast, Cablevision and Time Warner offer 40-60 high-def channels in some markets.
In other markets, this figure drops to less than 30 HD channels.
Verizon currently has fewer than 40 HD channels but says it will up this to150 by the end of 2008.
AT&T’s U-Verse TV service also offers around 40 HD channels and hasn’t announced any expansion plans.
Guyardo said that DirecTV was well positioned to attract future HD subscribers.
“People are still investing a ton of money in big, flat-screen TVs – HDTVs,” he said.
“The growth has definitely levelled off, but the growth is still there. And I think they want a quality picture on their 50-inch Plasma.”

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