Nuclear sub sector

Large cable, sat ops energize growth in Q1

The largest cable and satellite operators posted their strongest total growth in more than two years during the first quarter, adding 790,000 subscribers and posting an annual growth rate of nearly 3%.

New research from JPMorgan shows that population growth, expanding availability of satellite TV and antipiracy efforts will continue to drive strong growth for “the foreseeable future.” Report notes, however, that satellite companies will capture the majority of pay TV incremental growth, with cable’s growth rate likely to remain flat.

Smaller ops see dip

Analysts noted that smaller cable systems and satellite providers actually declined slightly in the first quarter. Including them, overall industry grew by about 2.5% during the first three months of the year.

Nevertheless, record industry growth outpaced household formations, indicating that pay TV services are increasing their penetration of American homes. And with pay TV penetration still at less than 75% of households that serve as a primary residence, JPMorgan analysts see continued room for that growth rate.

Non-primary homes are playing a notable role in the industry as well, representing 9% of total subscriptions in 2003. However, JPMorgan expects only modest growth from these subscribers, which include hotels, dormitories and vacation homes.