Cable's TV empire slipping?

silversurfer

Supporting Founder
Supporting Founder
Sep 8, 2003
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Las Vegas, Nevada
Satellite companies increasing market share, research finds

By Chris Walsh, Rocky Mountain News
March 17, 2004

Led by EchoStar Communications Corp., the nation's two largest satellite-TV providers continued last year to eat away at cable's market share.

Douglas County-based EchoStar, which operates Dish Network, and News Corp.'s DirecTV grabbed an extra 1.82 percentage points of the pay-television pie in 2003, according to research released Tuesday by Bloomberg News.

At the same time, the nation's eight largest public cable companies lost nearly 1 percentage point from their market share.

The findings highlight the intense battle for viewers between cable- and satellite-TV providers. The cable industry has lost 8 percent of its market share since 1998, mainly to satellite.

Several analysts said they expect satellite TV to continue to chip away at cable's empire.

"Satellite has a lower price, it's got better picture quality, and it's got the perception, at least, of better customer service," said Bill Jacobs, a cable and satellite analyst with Harris & Associates in Chicago. "That's why they're able to gain share."

At the end of 2003:

• The nation's two largest satellite-TV firms had 21.64 million subscribers, up 11.8 percent from 2002.

• The nation's eight largest cable companies had 56.36 million subscribers, down 0.3 percent from the previous year.

• Satellite-TV now has roughly 20 percent of the market share; cable has 52 percent.

• EchoStar was the fastest growing pay-TV provider in 2003, adding 1.24 million net new subscribers. It now has 8.69 percent of the market share.

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