Originally Posted by BartMan01
Source for that information?
I'm cynical, can't help it. I consider the sources of information. The National Cable Television Association is bound to have their slant, and money is a big motivator. Not sure what the history has to do with advertising though. I think they deliberately left the subject out of their history.
All I can offer as a source is my own memory. I grew up in rural WI. My experiences with cable TV go back to the early '70s - before MTV and before Ted Turner's WTBS/TBS, TNthis and TNthat . I see that HBO started in '72, and a friend had cable TV a couple years or so before MTV. In fact, programming was very limited in those days. We got cable soon after MTV's launch. Cable TV was being marketed in Wisconsin (ironically over free to air networks) as a "commercial free" alternative to free to air, without the reception problems and not being at the mercy of the weather. The closest thing to an ad on cable or pay channels was their own upcoming shows/events calendars - which they used to fill blanks in coverage. In those days the free to air programs(and their commercials) weren't on cable, because as I remember it, they couldn't come to an agreement. It wasn't until I returned from the service in '78 that I saw a commercial on cable, on a free to air channel no less. Other than MTV pushing the boundaries early and the free to air channels bringing their luggage along, commercials were still few and far between. Cable had already been around for almost 2 decades by then, and survived completely commercial free - although expensive and had limited availability until after '72.That was the brilliance of their approach.
Had they just tossed full blown commercials at us, we would have jumped ship before it had a chance to really take off. Instead, they agree with free to air and count on people just not noticing. And some of us did, but we didn't raise much fuss. Shame on us.
From your own link, statistics say that from the '70s to the '80s (which I take to mean January 1970 and January 1980) subscribers went from less than 1 million to over 16 million. How did less than 1 million subscribers build and sustain infrastructure and content costs just fine for 2 decades? They got some investors, but that wouldn't have been huge.
Now subscriptions of cable and satellite TV in the USA are estimated at around 103 million households, using the same infrastructure that 1 million, and then 16 million did.
Ok, they did a major upgrade in '90s and that cost around $20 billion all up. With that upgrade/expansion they were thinking 100 years in advance. So you know what else they did, was put copper and fiber-optic in those cable lines. So now they can soak you for broadband and TV, and claim both costs go to infrastructure - and of course they still need advertising because 100+ million TV connections + internet connections just isn't enough.
Anyway, seems I'm not alone in viewing cable TV well before commercials took over.
I remember being fascinated with MTV when it first appeared and watching "Fish Heads" over and over, but that was later - and another story. :-)