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Report: U.S. Cable TV Homes Slipping

3 Dec, 2007 By: Erik Gruenwedel

The percentage of cable television enabled homes in the United States fell to 58.4% in 2006, down from 65.5% in 1998, according to research from SNL Kagan.

The report found that monthly basic cable TV subscriptions remained steady at 65%, with a weighted average basic monthly rate of $41.12 (weighting is based on importance).

Total basic cable TV revenue topped $32.2 billion in 2006, based on the net number of occupied U.S. homes with cable exceeding 108 million.

New York-based SNL Kagan said recent quarters of declining cable subscriptions will likely see an overall decline in subs by the end of 2007.

The decline in U.S. cable homes apparently derailed efforts by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to increase regulation of the cable industry.

FCC chairman Kevin Martin recently came under fire when he cited third-party data suggesting U.S. household cable penetration and subscriptions had reached 70%.

A 1984 federal law mandates that upon reaching the 70/70 threshold, the government can regulate competition, content and diversity, among other issues.

On Nov. 27, the FCC reportedly revealed that its own data suggested domestic cable penetration from 54% to 55%.

“The FCC chairman was trying to invoke the regulation clause to allow him to more closely regulate cable TV,” said Robin Flynn, SNL Kagan senior analyst.

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