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MPSC report: Number of Michigan cable operators dropped in 2021, but subscribers increased after years of declines
February 01, 2022
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The number of video and cable television operators in Michigan fell by three in 2021 to 33, even as the number of subscribers grew after several years of steep declines, the Michigan Public Service Commission’s annual Status of Competition for Video Services in Michigan report found.
There were 1,628,620 video-cable customers reported in Michigan in 2021, an increase of 18,341 over 2020, according to the report release today. It was the first time that the number of subscribers hadn’t declined year over year since a recent high of more than 2.3 million subscribers in 2015. The larger trend of decreasing subscriptions reflects a nationwide move of customers away from cable-video services to internet streaming services.
The number of franchise agreements between cable-video providers and municipalities declined, meanwhile, to 1,973 statewide in 2021 from 2,107 the year before.
The MPSC’s cable-video report is based on responses by providers to an annual MPSC survey. The report is submitted by Feb. 1 each year to the Governor and Legislature. The report does not include satellite TV providers, which do not fall under the jurisdiction of the Uniform Video Services Local Franchise Act.
More than 42% of video and cable TV providers who responded to the MPSC’s voluntary survey reported investing a total of more than $5.1 million in Michigan in 2021.
The MPSC works to resolve disputes between customers, municipalities and service providers. The MPSC received 893 customer complaints in 2021, a 3% increase from 870 in 2020. The most common complaint involved billing charges, followed by cable line issues and internet service problems.
A complaint form is available at the MPSC’s Video/Cable webpage, which also lists contact information for service providers in Michigan and consumer tips.
The video-cable report is based on franchise entities and video and cable television providers who responded to the MPSC survey, and other information collected by the MPSC.
The report makes several recommendations to the Legislature, including:
- Moving the due date of the annual report to March 1 to allow respondents additional time to provide timely and accurate year-end information.
- Requiring providers to provide additional information to ensure the MPSC has accurate contact information for purposes of handling complaints and gathering information and data pursuant to the Uniform Video Services Local Franchise Act.
- Requiring providers that change company names, go out of business or merge with another company to provide notification to the MPSC.
For information about the MPSC, visit www.michigan.gov/mpsc, sign up for its monthly newsletter or other listservs, or follow the Commission on Twitter or LinkedIn.
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