DIRECTV Earnings Call Insights: PanAmerica Outlook and Hulu

Directv (NASDAQ:DTV) recently reported its second quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call.

PanAmerica Outlook

Ben Swinburne – Morgan Stanley: Bruce, can you talk about sort of looking at both PanAmericana and Brazil? In PanAmericana the ARPU seems to have inflected a bit as you guys have gone more towards prepay. Is the trajectory here now more to see declines going forward on an organic basis ex-currency, now that the business mix continues to shift? I think you had a price increase – I think you were comping a price increase in that market. And then in Brazil, I’m just curious, what kind of churn rate if you sort of cut through some of the credit cleanups, do you think we should be expecting as they move into the back half, I’m sure with the implied (back) – I know it’s based on your subscriber count. But just trying to get a sense for what the business looks like now?

Bruce B. Churchill – EVP and President, DIRECTV Latin America: On the ARPU question, I wouldn’t say we reached any kind of inflection point. I don’t think anything dramatically different has occurred. We are continue to try and find that balance between the growth in the middle market which does tend to have dragging effect on the ARPU and selling HD and advanced products and upgrading customers where appropriate to help offset that. We do have a couple of price increases we expect to put through in PanAmericana for the balance of the year, so I think that will help in some regard. So again, I don’t think there is any inflection point or anything that’s terribly different than the long-term guidance that we’ve talked about before. With respect to Brazil churn; look, it’s really ugly this quarter. I don’t deny that. I am not going to sugarcoat it. Having said that, we are working hard to get it back down to sort of those historical levels and I think before I’ve kind of talked about 2% being kind of the sweet spot for us, overall, in the market, and I think that’s where we’ll try and get to. I don’t think we are going to get there in one quarter, but it’s certainly where we look to get to as we move into the fourth quarter and into next year – talking about Brazil…

Hulu

Douglas Mitchelson – Deutsche Bank: So question for Mike and a question for Bruce. Mike, I am curious about the Company’s interest in Hulu and whether there is anything you can or should do in terms of partnership with them with an acquisition off the table or others build yourself in that regard. Bruce, I am still trying to square up the performance in Brazil in 2Q and your comments about tougher economy and tougher competition, particularly in the middle markets versus your confidence and long-term outlook in the middle strategy. Is there any more details you can give behind the changes that you’ve made and what engenders the confidence that you still have in Brazil, particularly the middle market there?

Michael White – Chairman, President and CEO: I’ll start on the Hulu thing. No question we were very interested in the asset and we are certainly disappointed in the decision that was made to pull it off the market. We made what we thought was an aggressive and attractive bid for it. And we have done a lot of work internally to develop a strategy. With that said, look, we’ve had a digital group that we created about 18 months ago here under (Tony Gonsalves) that reports directly to me. That group has really helped us accelerate our TV Everywhere strategy. We’ve added both on-demand and live streaming both in the home and a little bit out of the home to our mix and we will continue to accelerate in that area. We’ve also through that group enabled to drive aggressively to improve both our dotcom experience as well as the common look and feel for our user interface across all of these platforms. So, there’s still a lot to do. I would also tell you that I think obviously post Hulu we’ve had to kind of take a step back and look at other ideas that will probably be more targeted. So we are certainly looking at some subscription VOD ideas and that obviously when I’m ready to announce those, I’ll share them with you, but competitive reasons I’ll keep them ourselves right now. But certainly, we continue to believe that there are opportunities for DIRECTV in that space and we will continue to be opportunistic in looking at them. Bruce?

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