ITC figures reveal further slump in cable television subscribers

Cable television's woes continue with the latest Independent Television Commission report showing that a further 100,000 subscribers cancelled their subscriptions over the last quarter.

This figure, which is for the three months until 1 July, comes on top of a difficult first quarter when approximately 74,000 subscriptions were lost.

It represents a decline of 5.5 per cent with all of the cable operators being equally badly hit. The total number of cable TV subscribers now stands at 3.44 million. In comparison, the number of satellite subscribers grew 14.4 per cent year on year to 6.1 million.

There has been increasing speculation that the two main operators - Telewest and ntl - will merge once they have completed their respective debt restructuring.

Telewest has already cut 1,500 jobs this year and ousted its chief executive, Adam Singer, before appointing Charles Burdick as the managing director.

The collapse of ITV Digital and the net decline in cable TV meant that over the past 12 months all net additions in pay-TV were attributed to satellite homes.

But there was some good news for cable companies - the number of digital homes grew by 38,000 over the last quarter because of the continued transition from analogue to digital. The rollout of digital cable continues to make good progress with 2.07 million subscribers receiving the service. This represents an increase of 26.6 per cent over the same period last year.

The expansion of the operators' broadband is also continuing at a rapid rate - 467,000 cable modems are now being used to provide high-speed internet access.

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