The NFL has been a consistent lure for DirecTV (DTV), the only source of the league’s all-access Sunday Ticket package. But a funny thing happened in the past quarter, just as hard-core football fans should have been hearing the siren call of the coming NFL season: DirecTV lost 28,000 subscribers. Has the promise of an all-you-can-eat NFL buffet stopped drawing satellite customers?
Executives attributed most of that decline to a conscious decision “to focus on higher-quality subscribers” who will stick around after DirecTV’s promotional sign-up period ends. Those subscribers generate the most long-term profit. That means DirecTV was less willing to extend price breaks to the borderline cases chasing lower prices from the cable-TV competition. Plus, tens of thousands of households each quarter are now canceling pay-TV services all together, unwilling or unable to accept the consistent price increases as providers pass along escalating programming costs.
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