Digital cable TV services such as High Definition TV (HDTV), Video-on-Demand (VOD), Personal Video Recorders (PVRs), high-speed data and telephony services are helping cable operators to boost their Average Revenue Per Unit (ARPU), according to a survey of operators by In-Stat. In-Stat uses the term “Multi-Play” since new digital cable TV services are going far beyond the so-called “Triple Play” of just voice, video and data. 50 different cable TV systems were surveyed, representing a balanced mix of operator sizes and market locations. 78% of the cable operators surveyed reported an increase in ARPU over the past 12 months. In addition, the respondents reported that over 90% of their subscribers now have access to digital cable services.
27 of the respondents already have at least 10% of their subscribers taking HDTV services. 23 respondents are just beginning to bundle services, and they reported that less than 10% of their current subscribers take a bundle of at least two services. However, 13 respondents have over 10% of their subscribers currently taking a bundle, usually digital video services and high-speed data. A significant number of the surveyed cable systems operators remain skeptical about CableCARD devices. 20 of the respondents stated that CableCARDs offer no benefit to either their businesses or cable systems. 46 of the 50 respondents said that their local cable TV system would be able to do well in head-to-head competition against their local telephone company, and believe that their product mix and local services will help them to hold their own in the future.