Web, phone subscriptions outpace cable TV: StatsCan

The org's 2009 'Cable and Satellite Television Industry' report shows cable operators earning highest profit margin since 2000, led by increases in telecom subscribers.

In new media terms, 2009 was eons ago, but looking back on the year via Statistics Canada’s 2009 ‘Cable Satellite Television Industry’ report, you can see the ripples of change in the media world turning into 2010′s waves.

Released Wednesday, the report shows that 2009 was the first year in which cable operators had more subscribers to telecommunications services than to TV services, revealing the start of a shift toward mobile phones and web against traditional communications and entertainment.

New subscriptions to telephone services represented 61% of all new subscribers to cablecos in 2009, and non-programming subscription revenues climbed to 45.8% of total cableco subscription revenues, up from 43.2% in 2008 and 39.4% in 2007.

Per-subscriber revenues also climbed for the third year straight, thanks to media pricing bundles and other initiatives, to $1,130 per year.

Cable companies had 8.1 million subscribers in 2009, while wireless TV/satellite providers had 2.7 million. Market share between the two remained unchanged.

In total, cable and satellite companies collectively earned $11.4 billion in 2009, a 10.6% increase over the year prior, the fourth consecutive year that revenue growth topped 10%.

Profits in the industry also saw big gains, with cable operators posting $2.5 billion in profit before interest and taxes, the highest since 2000, the report said. Wireless service providers also posted another year-over-year increase in profits, posting $70.2 million in pre-tax profits.