Report: Despite economy, pay-TV subscriptions increase

Wed, 03/11/2009 - 8:05am
Mike Robuck

According to a study, the melting economy didn’t stop the growth of the pay-TV market across the nation in the fourth quarter of last year.

Rider Research said the number of U.S. pay-TV subscribers grew by 362,000 during the fourth quarter of 2008, a quarter in which most consumer products and services reported strongly negative results. The report is based on data in the phone, cable and satellite TV companies' quarterly financial reports.

As a group, the telco companies won in net adds with 567,000, compared with the satellite companies' 199,000 (thanks solely to DirecTV's 301,000 increase), while the reporting cable TV companies lost 404,000. The telcos' numbers didn’t include the subscriptions they sold for the satellite TV services.

The three big winners were Verizon, which added 303,000; DirecTV with 301,000; and AT&T with 264,000.

The companies that lost the most customers included Comcast, which lost 233,000 subscribers; Time Warner Cable, with a loss of 197,000; and Dish Network, with a 102,000 drop.

According to Rider Research, without the telcos, DirecTV and Dish probably would not have as many subscribers as they do. Between them, AT&T, Verizon, Qwest, Embarq and Windstream have sold almost 5 million pay-TV subscriptions for the satellite providers.

While their was an increase in the fourth-quarter number of subscribers, Rider Research cautioned that the increase could reverse itself as more people lose their jobs.

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•  Broadband Briefs for 03/11/09



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