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DirecTV Sets Rate Hikes
By Steve Donohue Multichannel.com1/21/2005 5:18:00 PM
DirecTV Inc. plans to hike monthly fees for its programming packages by about 4% March 1.
The direct-broadcast satellite providerâ€™s â€œTotal Choiceâ€ package will increase 5% to $41.99; â€œTotal Choice Plus,â€ its most popular package, jumps 7% to $45.99; and â€œTotal Choice Premiere,â€ which includes premium-movie channels, will rise 3.3% to $93.99.
â€œDirecTV has indicated that these rate increases will translate to 4% average increases overall when taking into consideration their $63 ARPU [average monthly revenue per subscriber]. But this significantly understates the magnitude of the increase, since their reported ARPU includes packages such as the NFL Sunday Ticket that are priced separately and will almost certainly see significant increases on their own, and other services such as pay-per-view,â€ Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. analyst Craig Moffet wrote in a research note.
DirecTV spokesman Bob Marsocci said the top DBS provider decided to adjust the rates for its programming packages â€œprimarily to offset higher programming costs.â€
News of DirecTVâ€™s rate hike comes about two weeks after rival EchoStar Communications Corp. said it would raise the rates on its Dish Network programming packages Feb. 1.
EchoStarâ€™s â€œAmericaâ€™s Top 60â€ package will rise 6.7% to $31.99 monthly; â€œAmericaâ€™s Top 120â€ will increase 7.5% to $42.99; â€œAmericaâ€™s Top 180â€ jumps $3 to $52.99; and â€œAmericaâ€™s Everything Pakâ€ will rise $4 to $86.99 monthly.