Cable TV: Exploiting The Franchise

Exploiting The Franchise

A bleak economy and mounting resistance to higher basic-cable rates made 1991 a blah year for the pay-cable TV industry. According to media-research firm Paul Kagan Associates, subscriptions for the largest pay-cable services were flat or down. But the Disney Channel announced last week that it grew 11% in 1991, adding 633,000 households. That brings its base of 6.25 million into a virtual tie with No. 3, Cinemax.

Disney's gains on cable leaders HBO (17.3 million subscribers) and Showtime (7.3 million) are due in part to its campaign to educate the public to its full menu of programming, and in part...