Comcast: Rate Hikes Are Coming

Comcast is raising rates as much as 6.5% in several markets starting January 1st. So far, Washington state, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Richmond, VA have been confirmed as markets that will be affected by the increase. But don’t blame Comcast, blame HDTV.

“We’ve more than doubled the amount of viewing choices for customers who now have the most HDTV and VOD (video-on-demand) viewing options with 100 hours of HD on demand and nearly 7,000 video on demand titles each month,” Steve Kipp, a Comcast vice president of communications, told The Everett Herald.”

Can a national rate increase be far off?—MEGHANN MARCO

HDTV: Will Comcast Hike Prices? — Yes [TV Predictions]

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  1. Why don’t they just hike the rates of the people who can actually USE the HD channels, instead of subsidizing those channels by having EVERYONE pay for it.

    Concast’s business model is shaping up to look a lot like auto insurance.

  2. Triteon says:

    Why don’t they just hike the rates of the people who can actually USE the HD channels, instead of subsidizing those channels by having EVERYONE pay for it.
    Simply put: because it doesn’t work that way. In many cases local carriers pay the networks to air their programming. For example, ESPN charges Comcast, TW, Charter, etc. around $2 per subscriber for the right to carry the network. Parent-company Disney has a longstanding tradition of bundling its networks and forcing the local carrier into an all-or-nothing scenario. If you don’t take ESPN Deportes you can’t have ESPN. Deportes may only cost the carrier $0.10 per subscriber, but add that to ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Classic, etc. and it adds up. The same goes for Discovery Communications (Discovery, TLC, Animal Planet, and other Discovery-branded networks), CNN-branded, A&E-branded, MTV Networks and on down the line.
    The ad revenue usually cannot offset the costs of carrying the smaller networks, forcing the carriers to bundle HD to you-the consumer! And, by golly, if you won’t subscribe to the HD tier then they’ll charge everyone more! And just like you and I, every so often the networks want a raise. And who pays for that? You– the consumer!
    What incenses me is that VOD is lumped into the argument. The original model for VOD was to provide programming at cost+a reasonable profit; what’s gone wrong is the massive licensing fees that carriers pay to have access to a movie library-even for films that may be unprofitable to carry. Again, it’s bundling-if you want Bridget Jones you’ve got to take Waterworld.
    Comcast’s business model is shaping up to look a lot like auto insurance.
    Damn straight. This is why ala-carte cable is never going to happen, and why I’m quite happy with the seven “free” local channels I receive. And BTW, I like Waterworld.

  3. mfergel says:

    Figures, I live in Richmond. I can’t wait until Verizon is hooked up here to see what they have to offer. Raise my rates for channels I don’t watch. Great.

  4. Falconfire says:

    “Figures, I live in Richmond. I can’t wait until Verizon is hooked up here to see what they have to offer. Raise my rates for channels I don’t watch. Great.”

    Feel the same way, as soon as Verizon gets their cable out there wont BE any more of this BS game of raising rates to 100 dollars a month cable. As soon as there is a REAL competitor on the market you will watch those rates drop to 20 dollars a month.

  5. Brian Gee says:

    I think this rate hike might actually push me over the iTunes threshhold. Its probably cheaper for me to buy the few shows I watch on iTunes than to pay a monthly cable bill.

    Comcast in my area brilliantly has put Comedy Central in the 2nd-level programming, making my Colbert Report habit cost me another $15 per month over basic analog cable (locals, public access, c-span, and a dozen or so home shopping channels). I think that same $15 would get me a month of Colbert iTunes downloads, plus I could drop cable.

    Hundreds of channels and hundreds of hours of unbearable on-demand garbage doesn’t entice me. All I want is my local HD broadcasts (which come in loud-and-clear through the rabbit ears!), Colbert, and South Park.

    And this paddle game.

    And that’s it!

  6. Brian Gee says:

    I think this rate hike might actually push me over the iTunes threshhold. Its probably cheaper for me to buy the few shows I enjoy on iTunes than to pay a monthly cable bill.

    Comcast in my area brilliantly has put Comedy Central in the 2nd-level programming, making my Colbert Report habit cost me another $15 per month over basic analog cable (locals, public access, c-span, and a dozen or so home shopping channels). I think that same $15 would get me a month of Colbert iTunes downloads, plus I could drop cable.

    Hundreds of channels and hundreds of hours of unbearable on-demand garbage doesn’t entice me. All I want is my local HD broadcasts (which come in loud-and-clear through the rabbit ears!), Colbert, and South Park.

    And this paddle game.

    And that’s it!

  7. robyns says:

    Comcast was already overpriced here in Philly…we switched to DirecTV and that has been a wonderful thing for my family so far.

  8. RumorsDaily says:

    Bah, my building won’t let me get DirecTV. Stupid building.

  9. kuipo says:

    i work for Comcast, haha well actually, for a call center in Monterrey, Mexico that takes Customer Billing Department calls for them, and yes, i read about the prices going up in January, at least for the Chicago area, the one that i take calls from, but, actually if you buy Cable, Internet and Phone, you get a decent price, and let me tell, you, WAY much cheaper that here in Mexico, one more reason why i don’t like Mexico, ahahaha, here the ” base ” High Speed Internet is 1 meg, USA.. 6 megs with comcast, and here.. haha HD channels are almost new to the ” LEADER ” cable provider here, anyways, i don’t have HDTV… haha weeeell… stupid Mexico…

  10. SexCpotatoes says:

    I subscribe to the bare minimum “lifeline” or as I call it “welfare” cable. I pay through the nose for the highest speed available cable internets, but only $20 a month for channels 2-28 (the only useful channels are CBS NBC ABC FOX TBS and TNT, I think this may have been a mistake, but they left VH1 MTV GAC and CMT on the upper channels for me). I laugh hard every time I see the retarded commercial that you can get VOIP from your cable company for ONLY 35$ a month. I already have VOIP for $10 a month (counting equipment charge, b/c it was buy a year, get a year free [Viatalk]). The funny thing is, if you want to try to subscribe to cable internet without having cable TV service, you have to pay a $10 a month (line access charge) fee, just to access the bastard’s network. So I choose to pay the $10 a month over and above that charge and get most of the normal network channels.

  11. Jesse in Japan says:

    Is the most interesting thing they can say about Matlock that it’s “Grandpa Simpson’s favorite series?”

  12. Meanwhile via BoingBoing, the president of the CBC is arguing that HD programming isn’t a viable business model. He says that consumers aren’t willing to pay a premium for HD channels–and both the comments in this thread and Comcast’s actions seem to bear that out, that the only way to make HD profitable is to increase the cost of all cable.

  13. Mary Marsala with Fries says:

    I pay the cable bill for my large-family household, because other, more senior members of the house demand the service — when I lived on my own, it was a refuse-until-reasonable affair, and I never found “reasonable”. Until I can buy what I want for a reasonable price, they’ll never get me back as a cable customer — I think “not being charged an arm and a leg for products you don’t want or use” is kind of a basic requirement of any company I’m going to deal with, thanks. …Of course, we are lucky in that we have WOW. It’s just as expensive as Comcast, but they have ::gasp!:: decent customer service.

  14. synergy says:

    Yes! A reference to “The Jerk”!

  15. Triteon says:
  16. Triteon says:

    Mis-post…oops!

    Here
    is a brief article from MediaPost.com further outlining how networks’ can hold carriers “hostage” over rights fees. Again, the media math is extensive but even when the question Why should cable operators pay NFL 70 cents a subscriber per month for an entire year, for just eight days of programming–eight NFL games? is raised, by the sheer volume of the subscriber base this can be a money-losing proposition unless those fees are passed on to the customers.
    Not that I agree with them, but I can help explain them!