If you've put your phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry and still think that your phone has been ringing unnecessarily, you're right. But take heart: Companies are paying fines for those unlawful calls. Just ask DirecTV (NYSE:DTV), whose illegal solicitations will cost it $5.34 million -- the largest fine so far, approved by a 4-0 vote of the Federal Trade Commission.

DirecTV has issued a statement saying it has terminated its relationship, as required under the settlement, with a "handful" of independent retailers who placed a majority of those calls. In addition, the satellite TV provider has implemented new procedures at a telemarketing company that also made some of those calls.

But as good as they are for consumers' peace of mind, these actions still strike this observer as a classic case of fixing the fence after the cow is out of the barn.

It's reported that the DirecTV fine is computed by multiplying $11,000 a day (the maximum that can be levied) by 485 days (the time between when the consumer complaints started and when settlement talks began). But with DirecTV holding on to $4.23 billion in cash, the check it has to write will hardly make a dent.

Since News Corp. (NYSE:NWS) purchased its controlling 34% stake in DirecTV from General Motors (NYSE:GM) almost two years ago, DirecTV's stock has been in a slow, steady fall. Third-quarter results kept the bad news coming: Subscriber additions were lower than in the comparable year-ago quarter, and subscriber churn increased to 1.89%.

Still, the third quarter also produced net income of $95 million, and the company has been aggressive in offering its services. From using BellSouth (NYSE:BLS) as a reseller to offering its digital video recorder and subscription services at Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation Best Buy (NYSE:BBY), it is hard to not see the company's marketing message wherever you go.

So what's the bottom line here? Analysts expect the company to compound earnings by 30.5% for the next five years -- and that's about three times faster than the S&P 500 is forecast to grow. The stock, on the other hand, is selling for 35.8 times 2006 earnings estimates. That's a rich premium in a business where cable and phone companies want to deliver a bundle of entertainment content that also includes broadband, an offering beyond DirecTV's current reach. For now, I'd say the company's stock isn't looking so fine in a very competitive environment.

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Fool contributor W.D. Crotty own shares in News Corp.Clickhereto see The Motley Fool's disclosure policy.