The cable industry has cut consumer theft in half, according to a new survey commissioned by the National Cable & Telecommunications Association and conducted by Frank N. Magid Associates.
The trade group cited the industry’s migration to digital platforms and increased efforts to identify unauthorized connections and convert those accounts to paying subscribers as reasons for the lower theft rate.
According to the NCTA, the theft rate for expanded analog service is now 4.65% (the percentage of theft per 100 homes passed), down from 11.5% in the previous NCTA cable-theft survey in 2000. Premium-service theft has been cut from 9.5% in 2000 to 2.15% in 2004, the association added.
However, despite the success, the industry still loses $4.76 billion in annual unrealized revenue due to theft, representing more than 8% of its $57.6 billion in annual gross revenues for 2004. The 2000 survey cited annual unrealized revenue of $6 billion.
“Cable's new advanced services not only have delivered increased value to our customers -- they've also established new barriers to theft,” NCTA Office of Cable Signal Theft director Nilda Gumbs said in a prepared statement.