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One of the drawbacks of aging is that many of the things taken for granted by youth-getting stronger, faster, more appealing with each passing year-no longer hold true.

It could be argued that some of the problems associated with maturing are beginning to appear in cable television. Although both the cable networks and multiple systems operators are clearly in their prime earning years, the ceiling is getting closer.

MSOs are grasping for ad dollars with a renewed focus on local sales, while satellite operations work overtime to find ways to undermine their monopolies.

On the plus side, cable still can do what the broadcast networks can't: Provide narrowly targeted programming environments with steadily increasing viewership.

Cable TV's age of rapid expansion may well be over, but if a willingness to spend what it takes to maintain share of both ad dollars and eyeballs is any

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