MVPD business shrinks as OTA usage increases, FCC report finds

Pay-TV operators saw subscribing households in the U.S. drop from 101 million to 100.9 million between year-end 2012 and year-end 2013, a new FCC report says.

The Federal Communications Commission released its 16th annual Video Competition Report, showing the first-ever subscriber recession for MVPDs.

Measuring TV usage data through the end of 2013, the FCC isn't culling from the latest numbers. But it's reports have tended to present accurate snapshots of where the U.S. TV video business is headed.

Cable operators incurred the bulk of the declines, the FCC said, with their video subscriber ranks falling from 56.4 million to 54.4 million. Satellite operators saw their subs increase slightly from 34.1 million to 34.2 million, while IPTV customers spiked from 9.9 million to 11.3 million.

Among other findings, the FCC report said that all-digital cable systems reached 57 percent of their MSOs' collective footprint by the end of calendar year 2013. Among the top eight cable operators, switched digital video (SDV) services covered 45 percent of their collective footprints. 

By the beginning of 2014, 1,516 U.S. broadcast stations, nearly 86 percent of the market, were broadcasting in HD, down from 1,536 at the beginning of 2013.

The number of households relying exclusively on over-the-air (OTA) antennas for TV video increased slightly over that same span, from 11.2 million homes to 11.4 million.

Also as of the end of 2013, the FCC estimates that 53 million homes were watching online video on at least one Internet-connected device.

For more:
- read this FCC report

Related links:
FCC sends net neutrality rules to Federal Register, sets stage for telco, industry challenges
Analysts: Charter will need more than mergers to fight OTT threat... but it has time to adapt
Analyst: Cord cutting will keep 'drip, dripping' along, despite sudden rush of OTT competition

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