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Surveys: Pay-TV Services Added 46K Video Subs in 2012

20 Mar, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel

The number of households cutting pay-TV service slowed

Multichannel video program distributors added 46,000 video subscribers in 2012 — driven by gains in satellite and telecommunication subs, according to new data from SNL Kagan. In the fourth quarter, 1.66 million people dropped their cable pay-TV video subscriptions, while telcos added 1.41 million subs and satellite added 288,000.

Kagan said the multichannel service providers ended 2012 with 100.4 million subscribers. While the industry has never posted a full-year decline in video subscribers, growth has proven difficult above the 100 million-household mark. For the year, Kagan estimated that U.S. cable subs declined to 56.4 million, satellite subs grew to 34.1 million and telco video subs increased to 9.9 million.

The data would appear to buttress a new Deloitte study that found 8% of more than 2,000 survey respondents said they would cut their cable service in 2013, compared with 20% who said they would last year.

Principle factors cited in the Deloitte survey included access to video programming online, including subscription video-on-demand services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Instant Video and Hulu Plus.

Meanwhile, household penetration of multichannel service providers dipped below 85% in the fourth quarter from more than 87% penetration in 2010. The decline is noteworthy considering that occupied housing is in a turnaround from 2008, adding nearly half a million new units when including occupied, seasonal and occasional-use households, according to the U.S. Census Bureau housing survey.


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