Cable execs: Average U.S. consumers will stay on as subs

Fri, 09/19/2008 - 8:25am
Traci Patterson

The average American will continue to keep paying for their pay-TV service despite the recent economic troubles, according to top executives from the pay-TV industry.

The executives, speaking at the Goldman Sachs Communicopia Conference in New York this week, had no doubt that the economy would impact TV subscribers, but they were fairly certain that the average U.S. consumer would not cut back on their cable or satellite bills, Reuters reported.

"As we look around us at the economy, the subscription part of the business has done well," said Glenn Britt, CEO of Time Warner Cable.

"I think people look to television as something they can depend on," said Chase Carey, CEO of DirecTV Group. "They cut out restaurants, they cut out theaters, but television is something they can hang on to in tough times."

Some investors and analysts have been concerned that struggling households could try to reduce bills by cutting off cable altogether because triple-play bills are larger than traditional TV-only bills, Reuters reported, but Britt argued that triple-play packages offer "great value" and would in fact save money for consumers.

Comcast CFO Michael Angelakis was reported as saying that the subscription business model helped give the cable operator "real resiliency."

"What I really like about the business is we have a defensive, resilient business that can take some body blows related to the economy, which we are feeling now," Angelakis said.

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