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The Rise and Rise of Cable TV: Demand elasticity of cable television during the Great Recession
Unformatted Document Text:  CABLE SUBSCRPITIONS statistics in 1947 to predict consumer behavior in 1991. While the PIH does indicate that historic economic decisions do lay a foundation for economic decisions yet to come, the economic climates of the two eras compared are too different for analysis. With respect to media consumption, the presumed reason for consumers to subscribe to Cable/ADS services is to consume various forms of programming. Research regarding the Principle of Relative Constancy also has shown that spending money on media consumption is an intrinsic part of many consumers’ budgets (McCombs & Nolan, 1992), so it is not surprising that during stable economic times Cable/ADS subscriptions would increase. However, previous research also has shown that income is not always a determining factor when making media- related decisions (Dupagne 1997). Even though it stands to reason that when faced with job loss – or possible job loss – consumers would either freeze spending on media/entertainment related goods and services, or cut it in some way to avoid spending more than they earn, the PIH suggests that this is not actually what happens. One possible reason is that Cable/ADS services are often bundled with Internet services, and the modern unemployed worker may depend on Internet access to search for work. Another is the “bang-for-buck” argument that posits Cable/ADS services provide more accessible information and entertainment for less money than other media outlets. However, whether its used to search for employment or for strictly entertainment purposes, it is possible that consumers now view this type of media consumption as a necessity, which begs closer analysis in the form of the following research questions: 5

Authors: Danelo, Matthew.
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CABLE SUBSCRPITIONS
statistics in 1947 to predict consumer behavior in 1991. While the PIH does indicate that historic 
economic decisions do lay a foundation for economic decisions yet to come, the economic 
climates of the two eras compared are too different for analysis.
With respect to media consumption, the presumed reason for consumers to subscribe to 
Cable/ADS services is to consume various forms of programming. Research regarding the 
Principle of Relative Constancy also has shown that spending money on media consumption is 
an intrinsic part of many consumers’ budgets (McCombs & Nolan, 1992), so it is not surprising 
that during stable economic times Cable/ADS subscriptions would increase. However, previous 
research also has shown that income is not always a determining factor when making media-
related decisions (Dupagne 1997). Even though it stands to reason that when faced with job loss 
– or possible job loss – consumers would either freeze spending on media/entertainment related 
goods and services, or cut it in some way to avoid spending more than they earn, the PIH 
suggests that this is not actually what happens. One possible reason is that Cable/ADS services 
are often bundled with Internet services, and the modern unemployed worker may depend on 
Internet access to search for work. Another is the “bang-for-buck” argument that posits 
Cable/ADS services provide more accessible information and entertainment for less money than 
other media outlets.
However, whether its used to search for employment or for strictly entertainment 
purposes, it is possible that consumers now view this type of media consumption as a necessity, 
which begs closer analysis in the form of the following research questions:
5


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