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DirecTV, Verizon Go After Apartments

Jun 12, 2008  •  Post A Comment

Like George Jefferson, apartment dwellers frustrated by a limited high-definition channel inventory from their cable companies soon may be able to start “movin’ on up.”
U.S. satellite leader DirecTV and Verizon’s FiOS fiber-optic TV service both plan to boost HD offerings to multidwelling units in an effort to increase customers in cities such as New York.
DirecTV, with about 17 million U.S. customers, said this week that it partnered with media-services firm Thomson to develop a system that allows existing apartment-building wiring to process satellite signals to potential customers.
Verizon, which is in the process of getting approval to roll out its service to New York City’s five boroughs, may exceed its forecast of being available to 18 million households by the end of 2010 by picking up apartment-dwelling customers, Verizon President Denny Strigl said at a telecommunications conference this week. Verizon said last month that FiOS, which launched in September 2005, tripled its first-quarter subscribers from a year earlier to 1.2 million.
The satellite and telephone companies are hoping to reach unhappy apartment dwellers who may be looking for alternatives to the cable service they’ve been forced to use because their buildings either are not wired for fiber optic or prohibit satellite dishes on the roofs.
Such customers in Los Angeles were featured last month in a Los Angeles Times article that reported Time Warner Cable offered 16 high-definition channels to its L.A. customers, the lowest of the No. 2 U.S. cable operator’s top five markets and less than half the number offered to neighboring Orange County residents by Cox Communications. DirecTV, which has long promoted its HD channel inventory, says it has almost 100 channels in HD.
By reaching these new customers, the companies may quicken the trend, ongoing for at least two years, of rising fiber-optic and satellite revenue and a shrinking cable subscription base.
Since 2006, cable’s U.S. market share has fallen 1% to 61% while satellite’s share rose 4% to 28%, the Television Bureau of Advertising reported, citing Nielsen Media Research. Meanwhile, telecommunications companies, whose market share was negligible last year, will account for about 11% of the market by 2017, according to research firm SNL Kagan.

10 Comments

  1. more hd channels is great. article doesnt mention that verizon claims to have 150 hd channels by end of year. ultmately it will who has the fastest internet that wins…not who has most hd channels.

  2. Anybody who favors bundle service apparently still dont know how to pay online and still write checks monthly and licking stamps on envelopes……… I prefer separate providers so I can play for better deals individually… Bundles are for suckers!!

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