US cable penetration hits 21 year low

Wired-cable penetration of American TV households hit a 21-year low as more consumers opted to receive video programming via an alternate delivery system (ADS) than ever before, according to a TVB analysis of Nielsen Media Research data for November 2010.

According to Nielsen NTI data, national ADS penetration reached 30.5 per cent of television households last month, an all-time high that is up from 29.3 per cent in November 2009, and now represents 33.7 per cent of subscription television customers (those paying for video delivery), another all-time high.

Meanwhile, wired-cable penetration represented 60.7 per cent of households in November 2010, down from 61.7 per cent in November 2009. The only time it had been lower was in November 1989 when wired-cable penetration was at 59.7 per cent.

“Advertisers who buy cable locally need to know that local wired cable systems’ ability to deliver commercials continues to erode,” said Susan Cuccinello, SVP, research, TVB.. “In fact, 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. 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,” she added.

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