Although the total number of worldwide cable TV subscribers increased last year, the rate of growth in 2003 was the slowest in over a decade. However, even with the recent slow-down in worldwide growth, total cable TV subscribers are projected to reach 395 million by 2007. According to In-Stat/MDR, cable TV subscriber growth will result from not only cable television operators' ability to attract new subscribers to their traditional analog video services, but also from recently deployed digital video, voice, and data services. The high-tech market research also reports that while annual cable TV subscriber growth was tracking around 3% in 2003, digital cable TV subscriber growth reached 22% during the same time frame.
Even with rapid digital subscriber growth, the modest total subscriber growth rate is forcing many cable TV operators to re-focus their customer acquisition strategies. Cable television growth in North America and Europe has dramatically flattened over the past two to three years, and this has been an unwelcome trend for many cable TV Multiple Systems Operators (MSOs) who have been counting on new subscribers to increase their revenues.