Cable Likely to Beat Satellite TV in Marketplace, Analyst Says

Tuesday, 8 May 2007 | 10:00 AM ET

Craig Moffett, senior cable and satellite analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein, told CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” that cable appears poised to beat satellite TV in the marketplace.

“I wouldn’t say (satellite) is dying, but remember that it’s a one-way technology in what’s increasingly a two-way world,” Moffett said Tuesday.

“At the heart of it, the reason cable is winning – and it’s winning phone subscribers and it’s starting to win back broadband subscribers – is not because they have more products in the bundle, but because they have a marginal cost advantage," he added. "They can do it all on one network with one cost structure, one set of capital equipment – and nobody else can. They’re giving enough of that cost advantage to consumers that they’re starting to take back share across every single one of these product lines.”

Cable Guys Come to Vegas
An overview of the cable industry from the NCTA cable show in Las Vegas, with Craig Moffett, cable analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein, and CNBC's Erin Burnett

Moffett said investors should consider selling EchoStar and DirecTV and buying Comcast and Time Warner.

“For growth investors, I think it’s Comcast and Time Warner,” he said. “It would be nice to be able to say one is preferred over the other, but frankly I think they’re going to trade with a very high correlation and they’re very similar stories. So, I don’t think there’s a strong preference between the two.”

He said cable growth rates are stronger than they’ve been in decades as companies re-invest to meet strong demand.

Telecom will be a factor in the battle, but faces a tough fight.

“Verizon’s footprint at the end of its capital program will only cover about 13% of the United States,” Moffett said. “Even if they get 20% market share, they’ll have 2.5% of the U.S. video market at the end of this project. That’s not to say that 20% isn’t successful, but it puts into context just how big a project it is.”

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