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DirecTV Predicts Healthy Growth Forecast

DirecTV Group Inc., the country's largest satellite television provider, said it expects to add three million customers in the next three years, for a total of 18 million customers by the end of 2008.

DirecTV Chief Executive Chase Carey gave the forecasts at the company's investor meeting. The company, which is controlled by media conglomerate News Corp., ended 2005 with over 15 million U.S. subscribers. After a year of heady growth in 2004, the company turned its focus on gaining more high-end customers.

Tighter credit controls turned away some customers, but also decreased the number of high-risk customers. The company, which reported year- end results two weeks ago, said it added 1.2 million subscribers in 2005, compared with 1.7 million in 2004.

Carey also forecast higher average revenue per user by 2008. DirecTV's revenue per user was $70 at the end of 2005. That figure is expected to reach $81 per user by the end of 2008. Monthly churn is expected to creep up. Churn was 1.7 percent in the fourth quarter 2005.

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