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Kagan: Cable Remains Pay TV King

Researcher SNL Kagan forecast only slight subscriber-base erosion for cable in advanced services over the next five years, reflecting the benefits of incumbency with lethargic consumers, while embryonic telco video makes large percentage gains from its small base.

But cable remains the king of multichannel. U.S. cable operators held 64.6 million basic-video subscribers at the end of 2008’s second quarter, and SNL Kagan forecast that this will slide minimally to 64.3 million in five years. Meanwhile, telco video goes from 2.1 million to 11.3 million in the same span. Satellite TV grows, too, from 31 million to 33.4 million, according to the Monterey, Calif.-based researcher.

Robin Flynn, senior analyst at SNL Kagan, said in a statement: “Cable MSOs have been able to gain traction from technological advances not only because they stand to reap basic-subscriber gains from broadcasters’ digital transition in February 2009, but they are also executing their own digital transition to reclaim video bandwidth and expand their capacity to offer higher-margin services, faster Internet speeds and more interactive services.”

Those add-on services keep cable consumer bills growing, including big gains in cable-voice services.