| NEW YORK
NEW YORK The United States may go through an
economic upheaval, but the average American will keep paying to
watch television and escape it all -- according to top
executives at the largest U.S. pay-TV providers.
Executives who spoke at a media conference on Thursday and
earlier in the week, said that, while there was no doubt the
pending U.S. downturn would impact customers, they were all
fairly certain the average U.S. consumer would not cut back on
cable or satellite bills.
"As we look around us at the economy, the subscription part
of the business has done well," said Glenn Britt, chief
executive of Time Warner Cable Inc, the second largest cable
operator in the United States.
Other pay-TV executives who also spoke at the two-day
Goldman Sachs Communicopia Conference also said they were
seeing little impact from the economic downturn to date.
"I think people look to television as something they can
depend on," said Chase Carey, Chief Executive of DIRECTV Group
Inc, the largest satellite TV provider.
"They cut out restaurants, they cut out theaters, but
television is something they can hang on to in tough times,"
DirecTV has been successful in marketing itself as a more
premium pay-TV service to high quality customers and Carey said
this would also help protect them during a downturn.
Investors have typically seen pay-TV stocks as recession
proof or recession resistant because Americans were more likely
to try and save money by staying at home to watch TV then go
But the U.S. economic downturn would be the first since
cable operators in particular have started focusing on selling
packages of video, high speed Internet and telephone -- the so
called 'triple play.'
Some investors and analysts have been concerned that
struggling households could try to reduce bills by cutting off
cable all together because the triple play bill is larger than
a traditional TV only bill.
But Time Warner Cable's Britt argued the triple play
package offered "great value" and would in fact save money for
Comcast Corp Chief Financial Officer Michael Angelakis,
whose company is the largest pay-TV provider in the United
States, said the subscription business model helped give the
cable operator "real resiliency."
"What I really like about the business is we have a
defensive, resilient business that can take some body blows
related to the economy which we are feeling now," said
Angelakis on Wednesday.
(Reporting by Yinka Adegoke; Editing by Andre Grenon)