DirecTV Group Inc. on Wednesday swung to a fourth-quarter profit versus a year-ago loss, as subscriber growth and customer turnover rate improved.


The El Segundo-based largest satellite TV provider reported fourth-quarter net income of $121.2 million (9 cents per share), compared with a loss of $288.5 million (21 cents) for the same period a year earlier. Revenues rose 7 percent to $3.60 billion from $3.36 billion in the year-prior period.


Analysts had expected earnings of 3 cents per share on revenue of $3.59 billion.


DirecTV U.S. quarterly revenues increased 15 percent to $3.41 billion over year-earlier revenues. Revenues for DirecTV Latin America rose 4 percent to $189.5 million.


Gross subscriber additions of 965,000 were 13 percent below last year's fourth quarter additions. The company's average monthly churn the rate at which customers drop the service rose to 1.7 percent in the quarter from 1.6 percent a year ago, resulting in subscriber additions of 200,000. The total number of subscribers at the end of 2005 climbed to 15.1 million from 13.9 million in the year-ago period.


Average monthly revenue per subscriber, an industry benchmark, rose 5 percent to $75.53 from $71.92 a year ago, while the average cost to bring in new subscribers fell to $639 from $669.


DirecTV shares rose 3.6 percent to settle at $14.06 on Wednesday.

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