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02.03.2004
Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
Commission video competition report finds DBS share of audience growing

While the number of cable subscribers has grown by about 13.5 million over the past decade, the share of multichannel video programming distribution (MVPD) subscribers cable serves has fallen from 100 percent to about 75 percent during the same period, according to the FCC’s 10th annual report on competition in the video programming delivery market.

The fall off in MVPD subscribers relying on cable can be attributed directly to the ascendancy of DBS as an important source of programming, the report found.

Released late last week, the report discussed competitive changes, the status of competition over the past 10 years and barriers to competition. Among the findings in the report:

  • At the end of 1993, 60.3 million households subscribed to MVPD;

  • As of June 2003, 94.1 million households subscribed to MVPDs;

  • 57.2 million people subscribed to cable at year-end 1993;

  • As of June 2003, 70.5 million subscribed to cable;

  • Cable subscribership has held steady since the end of 1999;

  • Non-cable MVPD subscribers at the end of 1993 was 3.1 million;

  • In June 1998, that number rose to 11.23;

  • As of June 2003, non-cable MVPD subscribers totaled 23.7 million;

  • DBS now serves 22 percent of all MVPD subscribers;

  • Cable subscription rates rose 53 percent between year end 1993 and June 2003;

  • The Consumer Price Index rose by 25.5 percent during that period;

  • Between June 2002 and June 2003, cable prices rose 5.1 percent;

  • The CPI rose 2.1 percent in the same period.

The report also found that during the 2002-2003 television season, broadcast television stations accounted for an average 45 share of all-day viewing for all television households. Ten years earlier, broadcast TV stations averaged a 71 share.

According to the report, the most significant convergence of service offerings is the pairing of Internet access services with video programming services. In 1997, the FCC reported that cable operators had begun bundling high-speed Internet service with their video offerings. By the end of 1998, there were a half million subscribers. Today, the report said, virtually all MSOs offer the service and as of June 2003 there were 13.8 million subscribers to high speed Internet services via cable modems.

To read the report in its entirety, please visit: http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-04-5A1.doc.

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