Survey: DBS Penetration Waning

Finally, something for cablers to cheer about regarding their
direct-broadcast satellite archrivals: According to a new study by a New Jersey
consulting firm, the market penetration for satellite TV has leveled off.

Mountain Lakes, N.J.-based Solomon-Wolff Associates' study is based on a
random survey of 6,800 customers from the company's database of more than
250,000 Internet users, asking them questions about usage, spending and
satisfaction for various telecommunications and video services.

It found that cable TV is the big gun in the premium-TV market, claiming 75
percent of households. Cable's penetration in this sector is increasing, in
contrast to DBS competitors EchoStar Communications Corp. and DirecTV Inc.,
according to the survey.

'DirecTV and Dish Network together now account for one out of four households
that use premium-TV services, but their growth has waned,' said Joey Wolff, a
partner at Solomon-Wolff, in a release.

'Cable-TV services are now having more success in holding customers, getting
new premium-TV customers and getting back some who had switched to satellite
TV,' he added.

But DBS providers still lead in customer satisfaction, with 34 percent of
customers saying they are happy with service compared with an average 22 percent
among cable subscribers.

Among cablers, Cox Communications Inc. came in with the best satisfaction
rating at 29 percent, according to the survey.