Cable Reach Erodes

NEW YORK: Wired cable TV subscriptions continue to drop while direct broadcast satellite provision is on the rise, according to the Television Bureau of Advertising. Nationwide cable penetration now stands at around 61.4 percent of U.S. households, according to Nielsen for February, down from 61.6 percent in February 2008. Satellite penetration reached 29 percent, up from 27.8 percent the year before. Satellite now accounts for 32.4 percent of all subscription TV customers in the United States.

The rise in satellite subscription has implications for local TV stations, TVB noted. Satellite carriers don’t accept local advertising and not all interconnects include all the cable homes in a market.

Interconnects represent grouped sales of two or more wired-cable systems within a designated market area. They typically don’t cover all the cable homes in the DMA, TVB says. For example, Time Warner Media of Dallas covers only about 76 percent of wired cable homes in that market. Comcast Spotlight in Philadelphia, the company’s home turf, has 79.2 percent overage of cable households, and a total interconnect gap of nearly 1.2 million TV households in that market—the nation’s fourth largest.

Provider system and interconnect penetration data is available at TVB’s Web site here. – Deborah D. McAdams