Total return: 77%
Fortune 500 rank: 160The satellite TV industry soared in 2006, with huge stock run ups for the two major providers. DirecTV stock rallied as the company did a great job adding new customers and holding on to existing ones, beating out rival EchoStar Communications.
But not all of Wall Street is convinced that the outlook for DirecTV remains optimistic. The company faces competition from cable firms like Comcast who can offer television, high-speed Internet and phone services in one package, while the nature of the satellite broadcast business has prevented the company from offering viewer favorite technology like video on demand. But don't expect DirecTV to wilt in the face of competition. The company should remain a player in the coming years if it can continue doing an effective job retaining its customers and offering attractive content, while serving regions of the U.S., particularly rural areas, that remain neglected by cable providers.
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