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DirecTV CEO Mike White talks soda, satellites and Comcast

July 22, 2010 | 11:32 am


DirecTV Chief Executive Mike White spent much of his professional life at PepsiCo. So when he arrived at his new job last January, human resources decided to make him feel right at home by having all the Coke machines removed from the satellite broadcaster's El Segundo headquarters.

Though White appreciated the gesture, many of DirecTV's staffers wanted the real thing back so he returned Coke to the masses. That said, White's drink of choice remains Diet Pepsi and he said one would be hard pressed to find a Coke on his floor at the company's offices.

In one of his first interviews since taking over DirecTV, White talked to the Los Angeles Times about why he's not worried about Comcast buying NBC, his concerns about Hulu and how he installed satellite dishes as part of his on-the-job training.

White's big concern is programming costs. He thinks its time for networks to be graded on their performance and is worried about the way programmers bundle channels together. In other words, a programmer that owns several cable networks often uses leverage to sell all their channels to distributors in one package so that the weaker channels don't get left behind.

That, White says, means distributors are paying more than some channels are worth. "Usually the arguments (with programmers) are coming down to smaller channels that don't perform." 

For more on White and DirecTV, please see our story in Wednesday's Los Angeles Times

-- Joe Flint

Photo: DirecTV's Mike White. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times.