NCTA: TV RegulatoryRegime Is So 1992

Washington —The National Cable & Telecommunications
Association was not invited to testify at last
week’s Senate hearing on the migration of video from
traditional TV — cable, satellite or broadcast — but
took the opportunity to blog about the need for a revamp
of the regulations in the face of the online video

The following were the NCTA’s “then and now” examples
from the era of 1992 passage of the Cable Act and

• “In 1992, there were 101 national and regional cable
networks vying for consumers’ attention; today, there
are more than 900.

• “In 1992, cable was the only real multichannel
video option for consumers and had a market share of
98%; today, cable’s percentage of multichannel households
has fallen to 57%, the result of healthy competition
from satellite, telco, and other providers.

• “In 1992, watching your favorite show meant sitting
in front of the TV when the program aired or setting
your VCR; today, consumers can watch a program live,
recorded on a network or home DVR, on demand (billions
of views each year) or over the Internet.

• “In 1992, video programming was all in analog, with
very little interactivity and no high defi nition; today,
most consumers are watching in digital, via the 100-plus
high defi nition choices (and even some 3D) and enjoying
burgeoning levels of interactivity.

• “In 1992, a TV set (probably a pretty heavy one) was
your sole option for watching shows; today, with the proliferation
of laptops, iPads, smartphones and other devices,
consumers have many options for watching their
favorite programs.”

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.