Cable Television Coming of Age

Archive Report

State of the Industry

Very Strong Financial Picture Predicted

Are these the best or the worst of times for the cable television industry? There seems to be ample evidence in both directions. On the up side, the industry—the operators that own the local cable systems and the programmers that provide the cable channels—is growing rapidly. Five years ago 4,225 cable TV systems across the country served about 16 million subscribers. Today more than 6,800 systems serve more than 38 million subscribers. Over 44 percent of the American households that have television sets are wired for cable.1 And more people than ever are watching cable shows. The networks held 89 percent of the prime-time audience in the 1978–79 TV season; by 1983–84 their share had dropped to ...

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