Skip to main content

Cable TV Loses Ground

NEW YORK: Wired-cable penetration of American TV households has hit a 21-year low as people migrate to alternative delivery systems, TVB.org said. The organization analyzed November Nielsen data and found that ADS penetration had reached 30.5 percent, an all-time high representing nearly 34 percent of all pay TV subscriptions. Wired cable fell to 60.7 percent, the lowest since November 1989, when penetration was at 59.7 percent.

“In 34 markets, a majority of those paying for video programming are now getting that programming via ADS rather than from a wired-cable system,” said Susan Cuccinello, senior vice president of research at TVB. “Local cable commercials are not seen in ADS homes, and so local advertisers need to deduct the ADS percentage of the audience if they are included in the cable systems’ submissions.”

The TVB, formerly known as the Television Bureau of Advertising, has a vested interest in driving the point home because of the way local advertising is purchased, and because Nielsen’s printed reports don’t break ADS out from cable.

Below are the leading markets for ADS penetration in the top 50 designated market areas, Nos. 51-100 and 101+:



Markets 51-100



Markets 101+