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Kagan: Cable Subs Dip as Multichannel Subs Rise

The good news is that overall multichannel video subscriptions were up by 220,000 in 2010 to 100.2 million. The bad news for cable -- unless you are arguing for fewer regulations due to robust competition -- is that rise came despite the continued sub slippage on the cable side.

That is according to a new white paper from SNL Kagan, which said the overall growth came despite growing online video competition and a still-weak housing market.

Cable subs are now at 59.8 million vs. 33.4 million for satellite and 6.9 million for telco TV.

Cable lost subs again in the first quarter of 1011, with Comcast and Time Warner losing 58,000 and 65,000, respectively. But that was less than expected and contributed, at least by not lowering it, to the 100 million-plus sub count. Kagan predicts that downward cable trend to continue, while satellite and telco continue to add customers.

According to 4Q 2010 data, cable's biggest share of subs among the top 10 markets is in number one market New York, according to data from MediaBiz and Kagan, where cable's share is over 74%. It has similar clout in Boston (73%-plus). Satellite's top market is Atlanta (44%), while telco TV is strongest in Dallas-Fort Worth, where its share is 23%, compared to only 36% for cable, their most competitive top market.

Comcast wins for "most consolidated" market, says Kagan, with 94% of the cable subs in San Francisco and 88% of the cable subs in Chicago, as well as 86% of the cable subs in its home base of Philadelphia and 85% of cable subs in Houston.