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Within each box, indicating a specific market type/system location, we further consider the two or three most likely lineups
of available local signals. While we have not reported every
combination which can occur, the cases tabulated are representative
of the majority of signal patterns to be encountered and they
cover a degree of variation sufficient to include most other
At the time Comanor and Mitchell's research was under
taken virtually no reliable statistical information was available
to quantify the effects on cable penetration of the number, types
and quality of local signals available, the additional cable
signals provided, the price of cable service and the incomes of
That study provided estimates of most of
these variables by use of multiple regression analysis on a randomly
selected sample of 149 systems drawn from the Television Factbook.
The authors noted that these systems were largely outside of
the top 100 markets or in areas of quite poor reception, or both.
Projection of penetration in the major markets under the then
proposed FCC rules (allowing four distant independent signals)
was recognized as subject to considerable error.
Since publication of the Comanor-Mitchell paper the measurement
of factors determining penetration has been advanced considerably
by Park in his study "Prospects for Cable in the 100 Largest
Park uses statistical techniques closely
related to those employed earlier.
He improves on the Comanor
Mitchell study in three major ways:
First, all 63 cable systems analyzed by Park had at least
three A-contour, good reception-quality signals available off
Second, all data were verified with system operators by
telephone interview, insuring greater accuracy than available
from only published sources.
Third, two improved measures of signal quality were incor
porated into the analysis.
Distance of the cable system from
each transmitter was explicitly included, and UHF signals were
measured separately to account for more rapid signal attenuation
with distance and the absence of UHF tuners in some households.
The complete penetration equation as estimated by Park
measures the effects of the following variables:
..... number of off-the-air VHF signals, with separate
categories for networks, duplicate networks, inde-
.....number of off-the-air UHF signals, by the same
categories; by distance from transmitter; with
..... number of cable signals, by the same categories
.....color set penetration
.. annual subscriber price
.....annual family income
Park's research is particularly appropriate to the present
assessment of the effect of alternative copyright fee schedules
on the viability of cable systems in the major markets.
jecting penetration rates for the systems studied here the average
figure predicted by Park's equation has generally been used, since this represents the central experience to be expected in the
In addition, a selected number of intermediate
sized systems have been analyzed using penetration rated 33%
greater than predicted on average.
Such increased penetration
is definitely atypical, and would be expected to occur in only
about one out of ten market situations, because of factors not
fully accounted for in the penetration equation.
Density, the number of homes per cable mile, can vary
considerably from one potential franchise area to another.
Comanor and Mitchell reported an average density of 95 within
major markets, and 79 outside, in their sample of Factbook
systems. More recently available data for a number of munici
palities in the Dayton, Ohio and Boston, Massachusetts areas are
tabulated in the appendix,
For systems in this study we have
assumed somewhat higher densities than considered by Comanor
Mitchell, ranging from 80 homes per mile outside of television
markets up to 200 homes per mile with 20% of plant underground
in the central areas of markets 1-50.
In practice, of course, both higher and lower densities
will be encountered.
But the tendency to a substantially higher
figure for any important number of similar systems is unlikely
in view of the FCC's emphasis that it will not authorize carriage
of broadcast signals by systems which do not serve all parts of
the community. 3
3 Federal Register, p. 3276, $180