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Something's Afoot in Cable-Land

November 5, 2010 15:43:31.000

Spotted in Engadget

Last quarter was the first time ever that US pay TV subscription rates were down. Now, according to GigaOM's calculations, big cable suffered another set back in Q3, waving goodbye to over 500,000 subscribers in total. Comcast was saddled with over half of the carnage and lost 275,000 customers, while Time Warner took a 155,000 subscriber hit. Charter Communications and Cablevision fared slightly better, but still added 63,800 and 24,500 respectively to the industry pit of despair.

The easiest thought is that with a weak economy (and high unemployment), one of the simplest cost savings measures available is the cable bill. We returned one of the cable boxes that had built up around here when I got laid off, for instance, and would have done more had I not gotten offers immediately.

Here's my question though: when things pick up, will those subscribers come back, or will streaming TV (such as Hulu and Netflix) be enough? Gaming consoles like the XBox and Wii are inexpensive, hook right up to the TV, and give you all of that. Then there are the newer settop box entries, like the AppleTV. This could be the sort of disruptive event that ends up kick starting a transition...

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posted by James Robertson


Re: Something's Afoot in Cable-Land

[Vincent Clement] November 5, 2010 16:21:32.211 higher priced internet service with low caps. But perhaps people are willing to pay more for the ability to watch what, when and where they want to.

Re: Something's Afoot in Cable-Land

[Thierry] November 5, 2010 16:44:31.831

Yes the economy does not help.

But they are shooting themselves in the foot with the content.

What do you have on the channel grid?

1- Commercial channels. No thanks.

2- News. I get more from the internet. Too much sensationalism.

3- Shows. No time for these endless weird scripts.

4- Movies. No thanks for the ads and Netflix is cheaper, more practical than pay per view.

5- Sports. I love watching sports. But again the experience is painful, too many ads, too many special effects. The games are almost secondary...

I spend hours with the Internet. Close to zero (besides movies) with my satellite box.

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