Monday, November 28, 2011

Cord Avoiders the Big Issue Now

About 200,000 fewer subscribers will buy entertainment video services in 2012, analysts at Credit Suisse predict. In large part, the modest contraction can be blamed on weak formation of new households and a growing number of new households that are avoiding subscription TV subscriptions altogether. More than "cord cutting," the abandonment of video services by customers that used to buy such services, the new weakness is among people who would otherwise have been starting their own households or becoming potential consumers for the first time.

The Credit Suisse analysts emphasized that they remain optimistic on cable and satellite sector businesses, but see the developing new problem as "cord-avoiders," households that are relying on video alternatives in an arguably new way. 

Many new households are not signing up for cable or satellite, the analysts said. While there were 1.8 million households formed, according to U.S. Census estimates cited by the report, only 16.9 percent of them signed up for video entertainment services.

 Analyst Stefan Anninger says he now expects the multi-channel video universe to contract by around 200,000 subscribers in 2012 instead of the gain of 250,000 that he had previously forecast."We do not expect the pay TV universe subscribers 'to fall off a cliff' over the next year or two," he said. Base business okay But there is trouble brewing.

For the 12 months ending Sept. 30, 2011, total pay TV industry subs have remained unchanged at 100.8 million, according to Anninger. "Over the same period, however, occupied households have grown by 1.25 million," he said. "In turn, pay TV penetration has fallen from 84.1 percent in the third quarter of 2010 to 83.2 percent."

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