Cable is down, DBS and telcoTV is up, and more than 80 percent
of U.S. broadcast TV signals are now
high-definition. That’s just a few of the takeaways in the Federal
Communications Commission’s annual Video Competition Report, released on
“As of the end of 2011, 1,501—82.2 percent—of full-power stations were
broadcasting in HD, up from 1,036 stations in 2010,” the report said.
Household adoption of HDTV sets
rose. As of 2012, 85.3 million (74.4 percent) of U.S. TV households had sets
capable of displaying HD signals, up from 75.5 million (65.1 percent) in 2011.
DVR adoption rose as well, from 46.3 million households (40.4 percent), to 50.3
million households (43.8 percent).
Reliance on over-the-air TV
steady at around 11.1 million households, according to the report. This figure
is in agreement with one proffered
by Nielsen in January, but far short of another published last month in GfK’s Home Technology Monitor
, an annual
survey that found 19.3 percent of U.S. TV households rely exclusively on
over-the-air reception. (See, June 21,
60 Million Americans Rely on Broadcast TV.”
Broadcast TV station revenue
the political cycle—$22.22 billion in 2010; $21.31 billion in 2011; and a
projected $24.7 billion for 2012, a rise in part attributed to retransmission
consent fees. However, TV stations were said to make about 88 percent of their
revenues through advertising, “a slight decline from the last report.”
Prime-time ad rates
for a 30-second
spot in the top 100 TV markets, based on composite figures, rose from $26.76
CPM (cost per thousand households) in 2010, to $28 in 2011, and $32.08 in
is said to account for 35
to 40 percent of advertising revenues. In 2011, the average TV station aired
5.5 hours of local news per weekday, up from 5.3 hours in 2010.
, once paid to
TV station affiliates by the networks, has “all but disappeared,” the report
said. Network compensation dipped from $48.2 million in 2010 to $25.1 million
in 2011, according to SNL Kagan numbers cited in the report. The 2012 figure is
projected at $287,000. Networks have reversed the compensation model by taking
a percentage of retransmission fees from stations.
comprised 8.1 percent
of TV station revenues in 2011, or $1.76 billion; and 9.4 percent or $2.36
billion in 2012.
Ancillary DTV revenues
negligible. Broadcasters can use a portion of their spectrum for
revenue-generating activities such as subscription video or data transfer, but
they must pay the FCC 5 percent of those revenues. In 2012, 81 licensees made
total ancillary DTV revenue of $499,970. The peak year was 2010, when 99
licensees brought in more than $7.1 million in ancillary revenues.
While the commission has been bullish on reducing the spectrum available for TV
broadcasting, it did give stations props for public service
“Since the last report, full-power television stations have continued to take
advantage of digital broadcasting technology to offer improved service to the
public. In addition to high-definition content, broadcasters are using
multicasting to bring more programming to consumers by expanding the
availability of established networks and adding new startup digital
networks—including networks targeting minorities and programming targeting
niche audiences—and Spanish language offerings.”
TV, which now has 154 affiliates, This TV, with 133, and Retro TV with 44
affiliates. Established networks have also benefited from multicasting. The CW
is on 115 multicast channels; MyNetworkTV, on 92.
Total day audience share
network affiliates held steady between 2011 and 2012 at 28, percent with the
total broadcast share at 33 percent, compared to 52 percent for ad-supported
cable networks. In prime time, network affiliates held 33 percent of the
audience; all broadcast, 38 percent; and ad-supported cable, 51 percent.
The availability of mobile DTV
between reports, from 60 stations in 2010 to 105 stations at the end of 2011.
The National Association of Broadcasters said the total now stands at 130
stations in 30 states delivering 150 channels.
Despite ongoing reports of cord-cutting
the FCC found that pay TV subscriptions rose slightly between the end of 2010
to June 2012, from 100.8 million to 101 million households. Cable’s share fell
however, from 59.3 percent to 55.7 percent as of June 2012. Direct broadcast
satellite TV providers picked up 600,000 subscribers in the time period to end
June 2012 with 34 million, or 33.6 percent of all pay U.S. pay TV subs.
TelcoTV grew by 1.7 million subscribers during the period, to 8.6 million,
according to the report. However, it noted that the total comprised “AT&T’s
Uverse and Verizon’s FiOS services,” but not other small telcoTV providers
around the country.
Technologically, cable systems are catching up with telcoTV, which delivers
only the channels being watched at a given time versus the entire package a la
traditional cable. At the end of
last year, more than half of the footprint of the top eight cable providers was
all-digital, with 43 percent of that portion using switched digital video
delivering only those channels watched.
The average price
of a basic cable subscription
6.2 percent to $20.55 between 2011 and 2012, with expanded basic up 4.8 percent
to $61.63. The basic price-per-channel was up 1.5 percent to 63 cents, while
expanded price-per-channel fell one-tenth of a penny in the 50 cent range.
The Video Competition Report divides TV distributors in to three types—broadcast,
multichannel video programming distributors (cable, satellite and telco pay
TV), and online video providers
OVD. The commission cited SNL Kagan numbers indicating that the number of
Internet-connected TV households grew from around 26.6 million (22.8 percent)
at the end of 2011, to an estimated 41.6 million (35.4 percent) by the end of
The commission said OVD accounted for a growing portion of Internet traffic
during peak hours, and noted that most major cable operators imposed bandwidth
caps or metered pricing during the first half of 2012. Phone companies are said
to be following suit.
The report was issued under the watch of Acting
FCC Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn
, who said she was “encouraged by the
pro-consumer trends it reveals.”
“Options for accessing video programming are swelling,” she said. “Nearly all
consumers now have a choice among three… MVPDs, and today, more than one-third
of all households can choose from four or more providers.
“However, I am concerned, because not all of our citizens are realizing the
promise of these competitive benefits,” she said. “Nearly three out of 10 rural
Americans to not have access to high-speed Internet…. sufficient to receive
online video. distributors’ services, and I sincerely hope that these consumers
are not forgotten.
“In this regard, I note that broadcast TV remains one of the most affordable
sources of entertainment and news,” she continued. “As the report shows, 11
million American [households] still rely on free, over-the-air broadcast
signals as their exclusive source for TV viewing.”