Future Growth of Cable Television

by Rolla Edward Park

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Expected ultimate cable penetration levels are estimated by fitting a set of logistic growth curves to 1969 data on cable systems. Highest penetration, 60 percent on average, is to be expected in areas with two or fewer local signals. In such cases, the number of distant signals carried has little or no effect on expected penetration. Lowest penetration is estimated for cable systems that carry no distant signals and operate in areas with many local signals; such a system can expect ultimately to serve 29 percent of all homes in its service area on average. Expected penetration for systems with other combinations of local and distant signals ranges from 37 percent to 50 percent. Rough calculations based on these estimates suggest an ultimate nationwide average cable penetration on the order of 40 percent to 45 percent. Ultimate penetration may be higher than estimated if radically new cable services are offered in the future. The kind of origination now offered, however, does not significantly affect penetration.

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