Cable bills are going up in 2016, according to a new report from Fortune Magazine, and the increases aren't even minor ones like you would expect for a year-to-year.
They're quite major. For more, Fortune's Jeff John Roberts explains that "Comcast, for instance, will raise its 'broadcast fee' from $1.75 to $5," almost triple, "and its sports programming bill from $2 to $3."
Furthermore, Roberts notes that Time Warner Cable will raise broadcast fees "from $1 to $3.75 and sports ones will go from $2.25 to $5."
"The rest of the pay-TV gang, including DirecTV and Dish, are taking similar steps," Roberts states. "The details vary, but the bottom line is the same: The cost of your TV package will go up, just as it did last year and the year before that."
Increasing cable bills have been driving a dramatic number of former subscribers to ditch cable altogether or move to more affordable options.Indeed, the streaming industry has arisen from these questionable business decisions with providers like Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Prime leading the way. Also, content creators have started to dabble in cutting out the middlemen.
WWE Network led the way in 2014 with a $9.99 per month offering that gave subscribers access to every live pay-per-view as well as a plethora of new programming. It was hit-or-miss for a while, but the company has started to find its footing in spite of recently hitting record-low ratings for Raw, its flagship cable program airing on USA Network.
Following WWE's lead, Showtime, Starz, and HBO, all content creators, have broken free of their cable-only access, offering all encompassing apps that give subscribers access to every movie and television show for an ongoing monthly fee of $8.99 per month (Showtime, Starz) and $15 per month (HBO NOW).
The idea that cable bills would go up so dramatically with competition this fierce, and with the rise of Sling TV's $20 per month "Best of Live TV" package, has left analysts like Roberts scratching their heads.
What many believe it signals is a coming change to the organizational structure of the Comcasts, Time Warners, and DirecTVs.
Rather than going the traditional cable route, each may be on the cusp of a structural change that leans more toward à la carte programming. The unfortunate aspect of this for these companies is that it will be tough to coax back former subscribers, who are already enjoying something very close to à la carte through a combination of cancel-anytime services that are delivered digitally.
With Sling or Netflix or anyone of the providers noted above, you can subscribe with the click of a button, cancel whenever you want, and have the current programming plus on-demand available on your streaming box or smart TV at a moment's notice instead of waiting from 8 to 12 or 1 to 5 for the installation technician to arrive.Cable bills going up could be pushing customers toward a shifting à la carte/digital platform that has yet to roll out in its entirety. But will it be different and enticing enough to win back the masses? Time will tell.
One thing is for certain: people are tired of paying $100 per month or more for their cable bills. They're tired of paying for a lot of content they don't use.
And they have spoken, moving to cord cutting and cord shaving models while also allowing the rise of specialty content networks like Shudder, Gaia, and CONtv.
Raising cable bills isn't likely to build the goodwill needed to woo back customers, but how do you feel about it? Will you refuse to go back to a cable provider on principle if your cable bills do go up? Sound off in the comments section.
[Image via ShutterStock]