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Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Researcher: 25% Gains In Revenue On Declining Cable TV Subscriber Base

And, I Want A Pony Dep't: A hat tip to @dodgerthoughts for finding this interesting MediaDailyNews article positing an increase in cable TV revenues amid flat to negative subscriber growth.
The Cambridge, Mass. market researcher Pyramid Research says pay-TV revenue in North America is expected to grow by 25% in five years to $125 billion. The research company says all this comes despite a declining number of cable and other TV distribution pay TV subscribers.

Pyramid says the total pay TV market was $99 billion at the end of 2011.

Nielsen recently noted there were 103.5 million cable, satellite, and telco subscribers in the U.S. at the end of 2011. At the end of 2010 there were 105 million. This decline was mostly due to a decrease in cable subscribers -– down 5% to 60.5 million. Telco subscribers were up, while satellite subscribers were flat.

So, wait a minute: per the earlier projections from Convergence Consulting, pay TV subscribers were expected to decline by 3.58M in 2012. That's a reduction of about 3.5% on top of a 5% real decline in 2011. If you posit a 2% annual cord-cutting in cable TV rolls, that means a 9.6% decline in subscribers in five years, and you need an 11% price hike across the board in your remaining customers just to keep up with attrition so you can pay your content providers. To make those numbers, cable TV revenue has to go up across the board by 39%, more than a third, and probably more than that if you're imagining the difference will be made up by pay channels like HBO. While I won't say this is impossible, I do think it's assuming an awful lot that flies in the face of recent trends.


That’s an interesting statistic based on the price of subscriber packages for television, but remember that there is still other forms of income for the TV industry besides just HBO. The Hopper is one item that is revitalizing the numbers at my workplace, Dish, and subscriber growth is on the rise. I got one and especially appreciate it for the 500 hours of HD recording time, besides the intended use of a whole-home DVR. I think if providers would offer better tech, people would be more interested in staying since it is easier for them to watch TV on their own time with a good DVR.

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