Cable’s Reach, Revenue, Ratings Threaten Network TV’s Supremacy

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(Fast Company) — When Conan O’Brien string-dances on TBS this November, it’ll mark a major victory for cable television, which has long been considered second string to big broadcasters ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC. But any way you slice it — reach, revenue, ratings, and (as Team Coco shows) respect — cable is king. Today, with about 90% of Americans now subscribing in some form, basic cable is basically the norm. Revenue is rising, up 14% over the past two years, to $48 billion, compared with a 4% slump for broadcast channels, to $16 billion. “Broadcast television’s audience share has been eaten away,” says Bill Gorman, media analyst and cofounder of TV by the Numbers. “The danger to broadcast TV isn’t the Internet — it’s cable.”

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