Study: Digital Cable to Pass DBS


Leichtman Research Group Inc. said the number of digital-cable subscribers
will pass the number of direct-broadcast satellite customers in the first
quarter of 2003, but growth beyond the current 20 million-home count will depend
on new services.

"Operators will need to offer more reasonably priced step-ups from analog
cable and continue to add value to the digital-cable offering via new channels
and services like on-demand TV and HDTV [high-definition TV]," president Bruce
Leichtman said.

In recent research, LRG found that 28 percent of digital subscribers have
cable-modem service, three times the rate of analog subscribers, and they spend
an average of $56 per month on cable TV.

On the downside, 26 percent of subscribers who have ever had digital no
longer subscribe, and of former digital-cable customers, 40 percent no longer
subscribe to cable at all.