In addition to relaxing local media ownership rules today, the FCC also imposed a cap limiting the number of homes a cable company can serve. The first decision has generated a lot of political heat; the second one is of concern to big cable — particularly Comcast (CMCSA), since the rule is also known as “The Comcast Rule”.
That’s because the cap, which limits cable operators to 30% or less of the market, really only has practical effects on Comcast, who at 24 million subs is by far the country’s biggest operator. Yet Bernstein’s Craig Moffett says the rule won’t hurt Comcast (CMCSA). In fact, he says, Comcast could still bulk up if it wants to — under the new cap, Comcast could still make a play for Cablevision (CVC), the biggest, most valuable system likely to be on the block in the near future. Here’s how:
92.9 million – U.S. multichannel households (defined as subscribing to cable, satellite, or other pay-TV service)
27.9 million – 30% of all multichannel households
24 million – number of current Comcast subscribers
That means Comcast is 3.9 million under the newly-enshrined cap — more than enough room to buy Cablevision’s 3.3 million subs.
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