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Alternate-Delivery Hits All-Time High; Cable Falls to 18-Year Low

More U.S. TV households are receiving programming via an alternate delivery system, such as satellite, than ever before while wired cable’s penetration hit an 18-year low in July, according to a Television Bureau of Advertising analysis of Nielsen Media Research data.

According to Nielsen NTI data, national ADS penetration—which includes direct-broadcast satellite and satellite master antenna—reached 28.4% of TV households in July, an all-time high that is up from 27.5% in July last year. It now represents 32.1% of subscription television customers (those paying for video delivery), another all-time high.

Over the same period, national wired-cable penetration of TV households fell from 61.1% to 60.9%. The last time wired cable was lower was in February 1990.

DBS delivery, the largest component of ADS, is now estimated at 28.2%, up from 27% in July 2007.