Telco partnerships, popular Hispanic packages and a turnaround in former NRTC regions helped spur DirecTV’s record 1Q sub growth (+505K). Partnerships with RBOCs generated more than 150K gross adds. Strong results in the Hispanic sector boosted net adds by some 120K. More than 700K customers subscribe to 1 of DirecTV’s 3 "Para Todos" packages, CEO Chase Carey said on an earnings call Mon. "The next few quarters will be critical for us in taking the DirecTV offer to the next level," Carey said, referring to the launch of two satellites that will increase local HD and new set-top software that will boost interactive capabilities, especially for advertising. Targeted downloadable ads will be available via new software in DVRs. "We really expect advertising to be an area of real growth for us," Carey said. He expects to more aggressively target cable’s analog subs and said an enhanced Sunday Ticket is being readied for the ’05 NFL season. While the new products may help DTV fight cable, they will increase operating costs. — By the Numbers: DirecTV posted a narrower loss compared vs last year, as strong sub adds drove revenue. Its 1.14mln gross U.S. sub adds netted out to 505K new customers, higher than analysts’ forecasts, bringing the total customer count to 14.4mln. Net loss was $41.4mln vs a loss of $638.8mln a year ago. Revenue increased 26%, to $3.15bln, from $2.49bln. Sub acquisition costs were up at $656/sub vs $644 in 1Q ’04. Avg monthly churn was 1.49%, up from 1.43% YOY. Shares closed up 5.3% at $14.87. – CableWORLD staff

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