It probably wouldn't work for a butter maker, but if you're a provider of satellite TV and you can lower your churn, you'll likely benefit your earnings. That's exactly what DirecTV (NYSE:DTV) did in its most recent quarter.

The result for the company was a 44% jump in its operating profit to $563 million and an increase in net income that -- on a percentage growth basis -- was just one integer lower. Revenues for the quarter increased 15.4% to $3.9 billion.

For a number of years, the nation's two satellite television providers, DirecTV and EchoStar (NASDAQ:DISH), have waged a head-to-head battle for subscribers with the cable operators, including industry leader Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA), Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC), and Cablevision (NYSE:CVC). During the past couple of years, with the maturation of their triple play offering of video, data, and telephony, it has appeared that the cable group was outgunning the satellite providers, whose offerings are limited to video. But DirecTV's results indicate that the quest for subscribers may be anything but a zero-sum game.

DirecTV clearly has benefited from recent efforts to upgrade the quality of its subscriber base. The success of that effort may have been manifested most clearly by the company's addition of 929,000 new subscribers, its monthly churn rate -- the number of subscribers who discontinue their services as a percentage of total customers -- of just 1.44%, and a 5% increase in its ARPU (the company's average monthly revenue per subscriber) to $73.40. The quarter's solid results also appear to have been driven by increased sales of HD (high definition) programming and digital video recorders.

In discussing his company's results, DirecTV's President and CEO Chase Carey noted that, "It's very exciting to see the strong demand for HD services, particularly considering the fact that we plan to greatly expand our HD programming later this year. With the successful launch of DIRECTV 10 -- currently scheduled for lift-off in late June -- we remain on schedule to offer up to 100 HD channels by the end of this year."

So the cable-satellite battle continues to rage, with neither type of programming delivery showing real signs of capitulating. From the perspective of Foolish investors, I believe that there is money to be made from DirecTV, even given the fact that it has experienced about a 33% share price appreciation in the past year.

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Fool contributor David Lee Smith does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned. He welcomes your questions or comments. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.