If a new SNL Kagan survey is correct, the cable industry is in for moderate growth over the next five years.
The study, released Thursday, predicted annual multichannel-subscription growth of 2.1%, or 108.5 million by 2012, with the total multichannel market accounting for about 89% of TV households.
Kagan did not predict that the digital-TV switch will drive very many over-the-air viewers to multichannel providers, saying that about 10% of over-the-air households will opt to move to multichannel, with most of those going to cable.
Even so, Kagan’s study predicted that cable's market share will drop from 64% to 59% by 2012, with telcos' market share jumping to 9%. It sees satellite's share dropping due to the lack of a bundled video/voice/data option.
The study said migrating customers to digital will be key to stemming that cable-market-share erosion.
The cable industry has argued that it has been losing subscribers to satellite and that its growth will likely instead be in converting the subscribers it has to bundles of service including voice and Internet.