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ITC release cable figures for the first quarter of 2002

The Independent Television Commission (ITC) have released the cable statistics for the first quarter of 2002.
The total number of cable TV subscribers to April 1 2002 was 3.54 million, which represents a 1.9% decrease from the same time last year when the number of cable TV subscribers was 3.61 million. A drop in cable TV subscribers has been experienced by NTL and, during its recapitalisation process, the company scaled back sales activities in order to reduce costs. According to the ITC, this resulted in fewer new subscribers and the fall in overall subscriptions has been due to typical churn rates during the period.
The Pay/basic ratio, which measures the number of subscriptions to the premium channels like Sky Moviemax, Sky Premier, Sky Sports 1, Sky Sports 2, HVC/The Adult Channel, Playboy TV and TVX as a percentage of total subscribers, hit 85% which is nine points down on last year.
NTL can claim slightly over two million TV homes connected, with main UK rival Telewest standing at 1,356,036. Of the 3.54 million cable TV subscribers, over 2 million are receiving a digital service which represents an increase of 61.8% from the same period last year and a 2.3% growth from the last quarter.
Cable's share of the digital pay-TV market was 22% by April 1 2002. This is an increase of 5.5 percentage points in terms of the digital pay-TV market share in comparison with the same period last year.
Over the 12 months to April 1, the number of satellite subscribers grew from 5.18 million to 5.89 million. This is a 13.6% year-on-year growth rate in comparison with a 1.9% decrease for cable over the same period.
The ITC believe that although the digital pay-TV market is showing signs of slowing growth, switch over from analogue to digital on the cable platforms continues.
The ITC, however, have stressed that the figures do not represent the total number of channels available on cable as many channels will have a substantial additional audience on cable systems elsewhere in Europe. Some channels are also distributed on digital terrestrial television (DTT).
The ITC aims to publish the cable statistics every quarter and are based on returns made to the ITC by every licensed cable operator.

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