Study Says Weather Ruins Satellite Signals

Weather-related reception problems were ranked as the top reason satellite users would consider switching from satellite to cable TV, according to a new survey by Lyra Research’s DTV View group.Commonly called rain fade, rain or snow may interrupt satellite-TV reception. Viewing TV without rain fade is cited as the biggest inducement for subscribers to make the switch to cable-TV service(see figure). These findings are featured in the new report, Relishing the Dish: A Satellite-TV User Survey.

“To woo satellite subscribers, the cable industry has focused on features such as local-channel reception, video-on-demand, and bundling with high-speed Internet access,” comments Steve Hoffenberg, principal analyst for the DTV View report series and Lyra’s director of electronic media research. “But our survey respondents told us that foremost, they just wanted to be able to watch TV, rain or shine. During stormy weather is precisely when viewers are most likely to want to stay indoors and watch TV.”

“Despite rain fade,” Hoffenberg adds, “the majority of our survey respondents said they were not likely to switch from satellite to cable in the next 12 months. While the satellite industry has not adequately addressed the rain-fade problem, cable providers’ ads mentioning the issue haven’t convinced satellite users to convert en masse.”

Relishing the Dish: A Satellite-TV User Survey is based on a survey of more than 600 existing users of satellite-TV services in the United States, conducted in August and September 2004. Half of the respondents previously subscribed to cable-TV services at their current homes. Questions center on the competition between satellite and cable, addressing satisfaction with various aspects of satellite-TV service, reasons for choosing satellite TV over cable TV, factors that might induce respondents to switch to cable, and interest in bundled Internet and telephone services. Results are cross-tabulated by demographic and technographic traits. The report is the sixth in the new DTV View series on the digital television market (, published regularly by Lyra Research.