Time Warner Cable president Glenn Britt


Among the luxuries taking a beating from the recession is a service until recently thought by most people to be close to a necessity: cable television. Subscriber growth among big cable systems fell significantly in the last quarter of 2008.

The three biggest systems—Time Warner, Comcast, and Charter Communications—were hit particularly hard.

In fact, Charter filed for bankruptcy protection after losing more than 75,000 subscribers in one quarter. The Dish Network satellite system lost 10,000 subscribers in the third quarter.

Verizon’s fiber optic cable service is doing well, however, as consumers switch from a cable mentality to a Web viewpoint. Advertising Age quotes Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt as observing, "people, typically young people, are saying, ‘All I need is broadband. I don’t need video.’ And obviously they are already saying they don’t need wireline phone."

—S. T. Karnick

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