Monday, December 1, 2008

Recession Winner: Cable Operators

Television becomes the heart of the house. And in a recession, TV has become the place to forget our troubles. Today, TV access is through a pipe, a pipe that also connects us to more variety of content options. As household begin to watch their monthly spending, it seems clear that overall, cable TV is a low cost alternative to outside entertainment.

For a family of four going to the movies for one afternoon, the cost can exceed $30, not including popcorn. Monthly HBO is on third less for a full month of movies. And while households may even choose to downgrade their cable service to eliminate premium networks, they won't shut it down completely. They will still want networks to watch and have access to VOD and DVR entertainment to record and watch the shows they want when they want. And ask most households which service is most important and most will say their internet access. It offers cable the best profit margin and brings a continuous stream of content options to the home. Just try pulling your child off the PC.

So cable will continue to enjoy a solid monthly cash flow. Cable entertainment may even become more important than other forms of entertainment. Broadway is seeing a slew of shows close; restaurants are seeing less patrons as more dine at home. And cable feeds the home in multiple ways: TV, Internet, Phone. "People don't stop watching TV, using the Internet or making phone calls during recessions. That means the cable operators -- which offer all three services -- stand to strengthen while most everyone else hurts during the next few months."

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