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DirecTV misses Street 3Q expectations

NEW YORK (AP) -- DirecTV, the country's largest provider of satellite TV services, missed Wall Street's earnings estimates for the third quarter, which included a 10-day blackout of Viacom channels like Nickelodeon and Comedy Central.

DirecTV Inc. said Tuesday that it earned $565 million, or 90 cents per share, for the July-to-September period. That was up 9.7 percent from last year's $516 million in the same period, chiefly due to non-operational items. Earnings per share rose 28 percent because of stock buybacks.

Analysts polled by FactSet on average expected earnings of 92 cents per share.

Revenue was $7.42 billion, up 8 percent from a year ago. That was the lowest growth rate for the company in years, as rapid growth in U.S. satellite subscriptions leveled off. In the second quarter, DirecTV lost subscribers for the first time.

Analysts estimated slightly lower revenue of $7.40 billion.

In July Viacom channels disappeared from DirecTV as the companies argued over fees. The dispute ended with DirecTV agreeing to pay about 20 percent more to carry the channels.

DirecTV added 67,000 subscribers in the quarter, but that was well below the 327,000 it added in the same quarter last year, and it missed Wall Street earnings expectations as well. DirecTV subscribers were more likely to cancel than they have been in years, something the company attributed to the Viacom blackout.

DirecTV shares fell $1.45, or 2.7 percent, to $49.21. The shares hit an all-time high of $55.17 on Sept. 25.

DirecTV ended the quarter with 19.98 million U.S. subscribers, making it the second-largest provider of pay-TV signals in the country, after Comcast.

DirecTV's Sky Brasil and PanAmericana added 543,000 subscribers, down from 574,000 a year ago. DirecTV now has 9.67 million subscribers in Latin America. Sky Mexico, of which it owns 41 percent, has another 4.6 million.

Latin American subscribers pay less than those in the U.S. DirecTV gets 78 percent of its revenue from U.S. operations.

DirecTV shares fell $1.65, or 3.3 percent, to $49.01 in morning trading as the broader market advanced.