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Is Cable TV Recession-Proof?

"Despite a slowdown in the number of customers paying for cable and high-speed Internet subscriptions, Comcast reported a 17.4 percent increase in net income, to $1.44 billion, in the three months that ended March 31," the New York Times reports.

"The solid earnings announced on Wednesday were partly the result of higher cable bills for 72 percent of Comcast's subscribers."

That squares with an analysis by the Keep Us Connected coalition, which recently released this statement in opposition to proposed changes to the Illinois Cable Act:

"The Illinois legislature will act this session to renew the Cable and Video Competition Act ('the Cable Act') that must be renewed before October of 2013.

"The Illinois Cable Television and Communications Association is now seeking changes to the Cable Act that will cut back funding and channels for the public, further reduce local regulatory controls, and create an unlevel playing field with other video providers.

"Cable companies often point to the fiscal pressures caused by a competitive market as sufficient reason for more deregulation.

"But let's look at the facts.

"The number of U.S. cable TV subscribers decreased over the last decade. But at the same time, the average monthly cable bill went up 84% (see chart below). From 2001 to 2011, cable TV in the U.S. grew from a $37.5 billion to a $56.9 billion industry. And when you add in Internet and telephone, you're up to a whopping $97.6 billion by 2011, with total cable industry revenue doubling since 2001.

"The upshot is that unlike most local communities across the state, the cable industry saw revenues climb right through the recession.

"Illinois welcomes healthy business partners. But Illinois residents need and deserve laws from the legislature that protect the public.

"They are already paying the price."

cable_slide_1.jpg(View larger image)

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Disclosure: The Keep Us Connected coalition includes CAN TV, whose executive director is Barbara Popovic. Popovic is a friend and landlord to Beachwood editor & publisher Steve Rhodes.

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Comments welcome.



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Posted on May 3, 2013


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