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First-quarter Cable Video Subs Drop in Top 15 Markets

23 Jun, 2011 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Telco subs increased more than 24%, spearheaded by AT&T U-verse and Verizon’s FiOS TV

The number of cable video subscribers in the first quarter dropped as much as 8% on an annual basis in the top 15 domestic markets as consumers transition to new delivery platforms and less expensive plans, according to a new report from SNL Kagan.

Total cable video subs declined 3.8% from 24.1 million to 23.2 million in the top 15 markets in Q1, compared with the same period last year, driven by drops of more than 4% in Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta, Detroit and Minneapolis-St. Paul.

Atlanta posted the largest single city or region decline with an 8% drop (88,000) in cable video subs and a 5.1% (47,400) drop in satellite TV users. The region did see a 29% increase (25,900) in telco subscribers, which suggests heavy discounting and promotional activities.

Comcast (which owns NBC Universal) is the largest multichannel operator in the top 15 markets, with 11.6 million subs, followed by DirecTV, Dish Network and Time Warner Cable. Cablevision is fifth, with nearly 3 million subs, followed by FiOS, with more than 2.9 million.

Overall, 23.1 million subscribers get their multichannel video content from cable, compared with 10.6 million from satellite and 4.3 million from telcos.

Indeed, while consumers migrate from distribution platforms, the number of consumers accessing multichannel video content decreased 0.1% to 38.1 million from 38.2 million — a decline experts generally attribute to economic conditions and not much-speculated cord-cutting by consumers seeking alternative video entertainment from subscription VOD services such as Netflix, Amazon and Google.


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