Cable TV - Statistics & Facts

Cable TV has been a mainstay in American homes for decades, with recent figures showing that 45 percent of television-equipped households are wired to cable connections. The cable industry is therefore, unsurprisingly, worth millions of dollars. In 2015, cable and pay TV providers generated at estimated 47.8 million U.S. dollars from advertising and program revenue alone, and a further 27.4 million from air time revenue.

Among the biggest companies in the cable industry are Comcast, AT&T and DirecTV. Bright House Networks and Time Warner were also both major players in this sector before they were taken over by Charter in the second quarter of 2016. As a result, the number of Charter’s video subscribers almost doubled from just over 11 million in the first quarter of 2016 to 21.82 million in the next quarter.

When it comes to individual channels, The Fox News Channel dominated in both the primetime slot and total day viewers in February 2017. The news channel averaged almost three million primetime viewers in this timeframe, more than double those of its closest news competitor, CNN. Some of the most popular cable series include AMC's The Walking Dead, which averaged over 18 million viewers in the Fall of 2016, and FX's American Horror Story, for which 6.4 million viewers tuned in.

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. Indeed, one of the main reasons cited by consumers for not having a cable subscription at home was that they could access the content they want to watch online via a streaming service. 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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