DirecTV CEO calls potential Dish merger "pro-consumer"
Pressed on his opinion of a potential merger with competitor DISH Network, the CEO of DirecTV, Mike White, told CNBC on Wednesday that such a deal could help consumers as satellite television providers deal with sharply rising content costs. But he warned that any serious talk of a merger should be prefaced with questions over whether regulators would allow it.
White said the drastically growing content costs since a failed merger attempt between the two companies 10 years ago has significantly changed the landscape.
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"Remember it wasn't approved 10 years ago by a Republican administration," White told "Squawk on the Street." "Now the world has changed dramatically. And I would argue that if you look at content costs ... the world has changed quite a bit, and that consolidation in the industry would be pro-consumer."
On Tuesday, DirecTV announced a better-than-expected boost in net subscribers in its third-quarter earnings report. The company gained 139,000 new subscribers during the most recent quarter, an increase analysts described as a one-time rise from Time Warner Cable subscribers jumping ship over the company's blackout of CBS this summer.
In Latin America—where analysts expected DirecTV to see the biggest growth because of its growing middle class—the company added 260,000 subscribers. Analysts expected more growth, however, and DirecTV reported a 12-percent decline in revenue off each subscriber, which it attributed to changes in foreign exchange rates in Brazil and Argentina.
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White attributed the slow growth in Latin American countries to macro-economics conditions and the devaluation of the Brazilian currency. However, White remained optimistic over long-term growth potential there, he told CNBC.
"You've seen the marco-economic conditions in several of the countries down there shift a little bit, especially in Brazil," White said. "I think they got a little ahead of their skis down there on debt."