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Television Businesses The Almighty Buck

Cable TV Prices Rising At Four Times the Inflation Rate 286

An anonymous reader writes "A new FCC report (PDF) has found that U.S. cable TV prices are rising at four times the rate of inflation over the past two decades. 'Basic cable service prices increased by 6.5 percent [to $22.63] for the 12 months ending January 1, 2013. Expanded basic cable prices increased by 5.1 percent [to $64.41] for those 12 months, and at a compound average annual rate of 6.1 percent over the 18-year period from 1995-2013. ... These price increases compare to a 1.6 percent increase in general inflation as measured by the CPI (All Items) for the same one-year period.' Equipment prices rose faster than inflation, too. The report also found that the price increases weren't helped by competition — in fact, the prices rose faster where there were competing providers than in areas where the main provider had no effective competition."
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Cable TV Prices Rising At Four Times the Inflation Rate

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  • by mc6809e ( 214243 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @08:33PM (#47022573)

    The quantity of programming has increased with the prices

    ......yet the quality of programming decreases......

    so (quality/quantity) * price is constant?

    I have a friend at BrightHouse Networks.

    According to him (and I suppose he could be lying), it's the price that the content holders are asking that's driving up prices, especially ESPN.

    He tell's me that ESPN gets about $30/customer in an all or nothing deal.

  • Re: AT&T land line (Score:4, Informative)

    by rsmith-mac ( 639075 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @09:13PM (#47022753)

    It's that and a general decline in long distance usage/profits. Before deregulation [] the bulk of the profits for telephone operation came from long distance, to the point that local infrastructure and usage was essentially subsidized by long distance. Post-deregulation competition quickly drove down profits, and more recently VoIP and other non-POTS communication methods have further erroded profits.

    The end result is that the bulk of the cost of POTS has been shifted on to local; you now pay for the cost of your infrastructure rather than the long distance "whales." Which arguably is how it always should have been, however POTS (and callers) benefited from the network effect so much that POTS likely wouldn't have been as successful if every subscriber was paying their own infrastructure costs from the start.

  • Re:Wow, that matches (Score:5, Informative)

    by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @10:33PM (#47023045)

    That is matching the rate of growth of government employees and their salaries. Who would of thought...

    You are stunningly misinformed. In fact the percent of Americans who are public employees is the smallest it has been since 1968 [].

    It makes you wonder where people get these ideas and why they feel so free to spout off without knowing anything. We have google, where is the disconnect coming from?

  • Re:Wow, that matches (Score:5, Informative)

    by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @11:24PM (#47023181) Journal

    That is matching the rate of growth of government employees and their salaries. Who would of thought...

    You are stunningly misinformed. In fact the percent of Americans who are public employees is the smallest it has been since 1968 [].

    It makes you wonder where people get these ideas and why they feel so free to spout off without knowing anything. We have google, where is the disconnect coming from?

    Fox news, Sean Hanity, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, a million Facebook posts about evil socialists taking jobs and voting Tea Party is the way out etc. Fox news is number one rated and tens of millions listen to right wing radio. They really believe that 50% of Americans all are welfare queens who make $45,000 and get free iPhones which they call Obama phones. Members of government believe the hype too which is why they are so anti Obama.

  • READ your bill (Score:0, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 17, 2014 @12:35AM (#47023399)

    There's tax after tax after tax and additional regulatory burdens (on TOP of the basic corporate greed and bloat) added-on to the basic bill... oh, they all have "nice" names....

    "Federal Subscriber Line Charge"

    "Rate Surcharge"

    "State Regulatory Fee"

    "Federal Universal Service Fee"

    "CA High Cost Fund Surcharge-A"

    "CA High Cost Fund-B and CA Advanced Svc Fund"

    "California Teleconnect Fund Surcharge"

    "Universal Lifeline Telephone Service Surcharge"

    "CA Relay Service and Communicatons Devices Fund"

    "9-1-1 Emergency Access System"

    "Federal Tax"

    "Universal Connectivity Charge"

    "Carrier Cost Recovery Fee"


    You might like all the stuff this crap provides (hey, who doesn't like 9-1-1 service?) but the FACT is that everytime some lawmaker proposes some new law or benefit or regulation, THERE IS A COST... and most voters are too stupid/short-sighted to pay attention. Just WHERE do people think all those free "Obama phones" are COMING from?!?!?!? Those of us who PAY our phone bills are kicking-in cash every month that goes (largely) to one of the richest men on the planet, (who just incidentally, of course backed Obama) Carlos Slim, who profits providing those phones []. Oh, and I linked to HuffPo so you Obamabots cannot dismiss this so easily as a "faux news" post.

  • by buddyglass ( 925859 ) on Saturday May 17, 2014 @10:34AM (#47025183)
    Given the price fluctuations in commodities like precious metals and oil, you would see the cost of cable (indexed to one of these commodities) show similar wild fluctuations. Its cost would seem to increase rapidly in some years and decrease rapidly in others.

    As an exercise, I looked up BLS price data on various basic food items and calculated the annual inflation rate from December 1995 to December 2013. This is the period in which the linked article claims the official rate was 2.4%. Here's what I got:

    Bread, 2.837
    Beef, 3.744
    Chicken, 2.712
    Eggs, 3.147
    Milk, 1.848
    Apples, 2.682
    Bananas, 1.485
    Tomatoes , 0.760
    Orange Juice, 2.448
    Coffee, 1.549

    So if the official rate is a gross underestimate, what gives w/ these annual rates? Or do you just assert that the historical price data is fudged?
  • by Calavar ( 1587721 ) on Saturday May 17, 2014 @11:42AM (#47025633)
    I'm giving up mod points to reply this because this is the stupidest BS I've read all day.

    1. We were working to send a man to the moon (300,000+ people involved) which was NOT just some guys in "bunny suits" prepping astronauts and rockets in clean rooms at the cape... there were facilities being designed and built and staffed in many states. (it takes far fewer to maintain and use the stuff in later years)

    I don't think you understand what "government employee" means. The vast majority of those 300,000 people worked at private companies that were completing government contracts related to the space program.

    2. We were doing major construction on the creation of the interstate highway system (passed by Eisenhower in 1956, activity was very high in the 60's) It takes lots more people to plan and build such a system than to maintain it later.

    Again, it's not as if the government went out and bought a bunch of backhoes and bulldozers to do the construction itself. Those highways were built by people working at private construction firms, not government employees.

    3. We were fighting in Vietnam and at a very high Cold War strategic military posture with lots of HUGE highly-staffed bases all over the world; The US military used to do all its own work for things like base security, base food prep, grounds keeping, supply chain operation, troop transport, etc .... but now days many of these things are "outsourced" to civilian firms, and even the military itself is FAR smaller (the US navy, for example has fewer than HALF the ships it had under Reagan in the 80's and while THAT was higher than under Carter it was still historically lower than at many points).

    You just proved the point of the Atlantic. You said that since the 1960s the military has vastly cut down the number of people it employs by outsourcing to private contractors and eliminating inefficiencies. Isn't this exactly what it means to have a small government?

    4. Technology was SUPPOSED to reduce the workforce. Where Social Security checks required armies of federal workers to do the processing in the 1940's, it's now largely a computer task now with the payments often handled by automated "electronic funds transfers" (so the workers on-staff handle the human-interface functions and SHOULD be fewer than the number who used to work at SS). Given that much of what government does involves paper, records, and money, a big bloated government SHOULD require a fraction of the workers of decades ago, since all the work of computing numbers, moving and storing money, data, etc should be done my machines now.

    This has happened. Today, Social Security Administration expenses as a percentage of the trust fund are less than one third what they are today. (source []) But that doesn't fit into your pretty little narrative, does it?

    Also, I'm sorry, but anyone who uses the Park Service as an example of big government is a fucking idiot. The Park Service gets .06% of the US federal budget. But wait, it adds up, doesn't it? What if we closed 500 agencies like the Park Service? We would cut government spending by 30%. Oh wait, no we wouldn't. Because the total of all non-defense, non-debt, non-healthcare, non-benefits spending adds up to 9% of the federal government. That's right, even if we shut down every "dispensable" agency -- from the FCC to the FAA, the DoE to the DoJ, the National Park Service to the Internal Revenue Service, the USDA, the USPS, the NIH, the NSF, the FDA, the FHA, NASA, the State Department, SCOTUS, POTUS -- we would only save 9% of the budget.

    This is what all republicans conveniently ignore when they talk about big government. Big government isn't caused by all the agencies they love to complain about.

    At least Obama was trying to chip away at the real problem with health care reform. No, it isn't

They are called computers simply because computation is the only significant job that has so far been given to them.