Cable TV - Statistics & Facts

Cable TV has been a mainstay in American homes for decades, with recent figures showing that nearly 44 percent of television-equipped households are wired to cable connections. The cable industry is therefore, unsurprisingly, worth millions of dollars. In 2016, cable and pay TV providers generated at estimated 52 million U.S. dollars from advertising and program revenue alone, and a further 26.2 million from air time revenue.

Among the biggest companies in the cable industry are Comcast, AT&T and DirecTV. Comcast accounts for nearly 24 percent of the paid TV market in the United States, with DirecTV holding another 21.5 percent, showing that the industry is dominated by a few large companies. In order to diversify their product offerings and stay competitive in the industry, many of these companies are beginning to bundle internet and phone service options into their offerings. Comcast, for example, gains significant portions of its revenue for high speed internet, business services and voice options.

When it comes to individual channels, The Fox News Channel dominated in both the primetime slot and total day viewers in 2018. The news channel averaged around 2.8 million primetime viewers in this timeframe, more than double those of its closest news competitors, CNN and MSNBC. In general, the most watched television programs tend to be sporting events and awards ceremonies, with FOX generating around 111 million viewers during the 2017 Superbowl.

However, cable television is facing increasing competition from subscription services, such as Netflix and Amazon Video. A recent survey suggested that cable television was seen as a more old-fashioned medium, with 72 percent of respondents aged 16 to 24 stating that they most associated watching TV with Netflix, rather than with traditional forms of television such as broadcast and cable. That being said, many consumers express that the ability to “channel surf” is an important benefit of cable TV services, a feature which isn’t an option on streaming platforms. It therefore remains to be seen what will become of cable television in future, with some estimates suggesting that number of cable TV households in the United States will be on a steady decline in the coming years.

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