Everyone knows this has been a rough year for cable operators by many measures, especially in the stock market. Some operators have suffered dismaying basic-subscriber losses, while direct-broadcast satellite competitors have made inroads against all of the MSOs — and many systems have wired competitors, even though the telecom recession took a harder toll on those upstarts than on incumbents.
On the other hand, new digital cable services such as video-on-demand and high-definition television are being widely deployed and hold great potential for securing the customer base — and for finding and retaining high-paying videophiles.
Cable networks have continued to make market-share gains against the big broadcast outlets, scoring several breakout hits and continuing to make key investments in new programming.
Even the painful advertising recession shows strong signs of being over — or at least ad-sales operations are now feeling better about themselves than they have in quite some time.
In sum, cable operators' investment in expanded bandwidth and improved architectures to accommodate multiple services has shown great promise in delivering the payoff that Wall Street seems to be demanding.
This special report, and the ones that follow on Dec. 2 and Dec. 9, also will explore these topics, and others that are on the minds of people in the cable industry as the year draws to a close. These topics will doubtless form conversation fodder at next week's Western Show in Anaheim, Calif.
The editors of Multichannel News
hope you find that these articles — and the extended coverage in our outside news pages — provide a helpful context for the state of cable and telecommunications today.