Quite a Lot Can Change in 25 Years

Quite a lot can change in 25 years. So it is with the cable TV market. In 1993, the Federal Communications Commission ruled that the U.S. cable TV market (linear subscription TV) was not generally competitive, allowing local franchising authorities to regulate rates for basic cable tiers of service.

In 1993, cable operators had 95 percent market share. By 2013, cable TV share had dropped to 54 percent.

From 2012 to 2013 the number of subscribers dropped from 101 million to 100.9 million, with most of the losses coming from cable TV operators.

Satellite TV market share was 34 percent, while telephone company providers had gained 11 percent market share.

The FCC now is considering whether, given the state of the linear video market, the opposite general conclusion should hold, namely that cable TV should be presumed to operate in effectively competitive markets.

Furthermore, most observers believe linear video already has passed its peak, and will, with greater speed, begin to falter even more as streaming alternatives come to market.

Under such conditions, it likely does not make sense to regulate a declining market too actively.
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