Americans Vote With Feet After Cable Groups’ Rate Hike

02 January 2003

US cable subscription rates in the twelve months to June 2002 rose 6.3% compared with a rise of just 1.1% in the Consumer Price Index over the same period.

According to the ninth annual report of the Federal Communications Commission, this was not to the liking of viewers, many of whom voted with their feet. And although cable still dominates the multichannel video program distribution market, penetration fell year-on-year from 78% of all subscribers to 76.5%.

A number of major cable systems experienced significant subscriber losses over the period, according to the report. “Calendar year 2002 may be the first year in which the cable industry as a whole experiences a net loss of subscribers,” the FCC said.

Direct-broadcast satellite services, however, soared from almost 16 million households in June 2001 to about 18 million in June 2002, representing 20.3 percent of multichannel video subscribers.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff