Kagan: By 2019, Telecoms Get More Viewers, Cable Less

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Digital, online, and other alternative video distribution will slowly eat into market share of traditional cable TV retailers over the next decade, according to a new SNL Kagan study.

SNL Kagan, the Charlottesville, VA, media researcher, forecasts that TV household penetration of services that provides traditional multichannel video will decline -- albeit slowly -- to 83.3% in 10 years. It was 84.4% as of 2008.

Cable TV operators will see the brunt of this -- handed the biggest losses by dropping to 60.7 million subscribers in 2019 from 63.2 million subscribers in 2009. On the opposite end, the telecom industry, in providing multichannel service, is expected to triple in size -- rising to 16.7 million in 10 years from 5.7 million currently.

Satellite TV distribution will land the middle -- at first growing to 33.6 million in four years' time from 32.2 million now -- but then falling back to 33.0 million for 2019.

What Kagan says is "over-the-top substitution" of traditional cable/satellite TV video, from new digital and online video services, will account for 7.1 million homes by 2013 and more than twice that number in 10 years.

SNL Kagan analyst Mari Rondeli says that although telecom companies will see growth, their footprint will be a long-term factor in holding back growth. "[There are] only 24% of total telco homes passed, [which] means cable and DBS will easily maintain the greater portion of the pie."

Rondeli says the good news is that telco video services will be available to 77.8 million households a decade from now. "But that still leaves about 54 million without a facilities-based video product," she says.

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