Monday, July 30, 2007

Why Cable Rates are so high

A new regional sports channel, The Big 10 Network, is in a battle with cable companies. This fight demonstrates the pricing and demands of the content companies. (Read the story here). The highlights of the battle are here:

The Big Ten Network is asking cable and satellite operators to pay $1.10 per subscriber within the eight-state Big Ten region and 10 cents per subscriber in the rest of the country.
"I doubt we will take it, as we see no reason to carry the service in our lowest tier of service nationwide," said Carl Vogel, president of satellite operator EchoStar.
The Big Ten Network battle is a crucial one for cable and satellite operators, who fear other major college conferences will make the same demands as the Big Ten. The SEC, for example, is considering launching its channel next year, and conference executives have said they are keeping their eyes on the Big Ten situation.
"Creating a separate network just for every sports conference in the country and demanding that all customers nationally pay for it regardless of whether they have any interest in watching it is a strongly anti-consumer position for sports conferences to take," said Comcast Executive Vice President David Cohen. "It is about more than just the Big Ten."
And it's about more than just the college conferences, said Bob Wilson, Cox's senior vice president of programming. Cable operators have long complained about the cost of sports networks, which account for half of operators' programming costs even though sports viewing accounts for 10 percent of ratings, Wilson said.

I think the content guys forget that there is only X amount of space for Y number of channels. The bandwidth is not infinite. And this is a reason that many consumers like the A la carte channel idea of the FCC -- let me pick what I want. Do I want HSN or QVC or the Garden Channel or Fox News? Heck, no. Why should I fund them?

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