Our economy is so bad, even cable companies, traditionally the last thing Americans cut, have noticed:
For all the talk about competitive threats from the likes of Netflix Inc or Apple Inc, it is rising poverty among households that TV executives say is their biggest source of concern.
Executives from News Corp, Comcast Corp and Time Warner Inc, speaking at the annual Cable Show industry event, made clear the industry needed a stronger housing market and better jobs picture to win new customers and keep existing ones.
"We have to be sensitive in making sure we have a product that consumers can afford," said Pat Esser, president of privately held Cox Communications, speaking at the industry's biggest yearly event.
Investors and analysts, with a few exceptions, can often be heard worrying more about how the cable industry will cope with cheaper entertainment packages from rivals such as Netflix, Amazon.com Inc or Google Inc.
Time Warner Cable Chief Executive Glenn Britt, however, was one of the executives focusing on the hazards of a bad economy.
"There clearly is a growing underclass of people who clearly can't afford it," he said. "It would serve us well to worry about that group."