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Television Businesses The Almighty Buck The Internet United States

Cord Cutting Caused By 74 Percent TV Price Hikes Since 2000, Says Report (dslreports.com) 173

A new study by Kagan, S&P Global Market Intelligence finds that cord cutting is being caused primarily by a 74% increase in customer cable bills since 2000. From a report: That increase is even adjusted for inflation, and it should be noted that individual earnings have seen a modest decline during that same period, making soaring cable rates untenable for many. This affordability gap is "squeezing penetration rates, particularly among the more economically vulnerable households," the research company added. As their chart illustrates, prices for multichannel packages have steadily risen from just below $60 a month in 2000 to close to $100 in 2016. All while incomes remained largely stagnant. As customers grow increasingly angry at cable TV rate hikes and defect to streaming alternatives, most cable operators are simply raising the price of broadband (often via usage caps and overage fees) to try and make up for lost revenue. And because most parts of America still don't really see healthy broadband competition, they can consistently get away with it.
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Cord Cutting Caused By 74 Percent TV Price Hikes Since 2000, Says Report

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  • but also different services. Cable Internet was rare in 2001. Cable Internet + Netflix + over-the-air TV probably offer more choice of programming than normal cable did in 2001.
    • What has cable Internet got to do with it?

      Pure Cable TV (multichannel) bills have increased by 74%. Not including any charges for Internet services or Netflix.

      • It's what spread decent broadband speeds actually capable of streaming video - making it possible to have TV without traditional TV service. ADSL/VDSL has OK speeds now for that, but still wouldn't have without cable competition.

        The 74% increase is driven by milking existing customers to cover the subscriber loss, but they're only driving away their remaining customers.

    • Cable Internet took off in 1997, it was only slow to reach rural areas. You must have been too young to remember the "net days" of 1995 and 1996 when fiber optic cables were being run across the country. I was in college at the time when our state representative stopped by the college campus to give a speech and do a Q&A session, the first question asked was when cable Internet was going to be delivered to our area, it was the most important topic of discussion for all of the students there. As much as

  • A 74% inflation-adjusted increase since 2000 would be around a 150% raw increase.

    That means the same service that cost you $100 in 2000 would cost you around $250 now.

    If you believe that, I have some swampland in Florida that would be perfect for you.

    • by DRJlaw ( 946416 ) on Thursday April 26, 2018 @09:34PM (#56510863)

      A 74% inflation-adjusted increase since 2000 would be around a 150% raw increase.

      That means the same service that cost you $100 in 2000 would cost you around $250 now.

      If you believe that, I have some swampland in Florida that would be perfect for you.

      You're right, don't believe that inlation since 2000 has been 100% (doubling the 74% post-adjusted increase as you have).

      And I'm right [usinflatio...ulator.com]. From 2000 to 2018 it was 44.5%.

      I also don't believe your base rate, because there were a number of stories in 2016 reporting that the average had just crossed $100/mo.

      And I'm right [cnn.com]. In 2000 the average was reported to be about $40/mo.

      That means that your numbers are indeed swampland-sales quality.

      • You're disagreeing with math. For the claimed numbers to be true, what cost $100 in would have to $250 today. Adjust as needed for your actual 2000 cable bill. Nowhere did I claim that the average cable bill in 2000 was $100. Try again.

        • by DRJlaw ( 946416 ) on Friday April 27, 2018 @12:59AM (#56511615)

          You're disagreeing with math. For the claimed numbers to be true, what cost $100 in would have to $250 today. Adjust as needed for your actual 2000 cable bill. Nowhere did I claim that the average cable bill in 2000 was $100. Try again.

          No, I'm disagreeing with facts. You factually claimed an inflation rate that is incorrect to come up with a "150% raw increase" that is false -- it was 107%. You also alleged a service cost in 2000 of $100 despite a summary that expressly stated the packages were "below $60 per month," and came up with a current service cost of $250 today despite a summary that also expressly stated that service costs were $100/mo in 2016 -- but now act as if people reading your reply would not infer that the "service" that you were referring to was the same service being discussed in the summary. That was deceptive.

          Your math may be perfectly accurate, but your model, basis, and conclusions are bullshit.

          You try again.

        • by pnutjam ( 523990 )
          It is, when I first got married, the best cable packages were around $100 / month. They are now north of $200, probably close to $250. This would be everything with Starz, HBO, Cinnemax, etc. It wouldn't be that difficult to spend $250 on cable today.
    • What they're saying appears to be the average cable bill in 2000 was $40. If you adjust that for inflation in 2017 dollars, it's $57.
      The average price in 2017 was $100. 57 -> 100 is a 75% increase.

      You're right! 75% is nowhere near 74%

      • Sorry if that was too subtle for you. Simply stating that the average bill went up between 2000 and now without evaluating what services people were actually paying for then and now is, to put it generously, disingenuous.

        • Thanks for the clarification, Comcast Guy.

        • You mean how people now pay for a dozen different premium add-ons now, when back in 2000 there weren't even a dozen to choose from?
          Effectively meaning the servicing you were paying for in 2000 doesn't exist now without a bunch of "add-ons"

          That is... unless the average person pays for more than internet, phone and tv on their cable bill now?

        • by DRJlaw ( 946416 )

          Simply stating that the average bill went up between 2000 and now without evaluating what services people were actually paying for then and now is, to put it generously, disingenuous.

          "As their chart illustrates, prices for multichannel packages have steadily risen from just below $60 a month in 2000 to close to $100 in 2016."

          You need to improve your reading comprehension. That was an apples-to-apples comparison. TFA said nothing about "average bills" with additional services such as bundled telephone serv

    • that gave me cable, Internet & phone for $100 bucks a month back then. Same bundle is around $250 now. So you nailed it on the head. You can keep your swampland. I'm sure you paid a lot for it.
    • by DeVilla ( 4563 ) on Thursday April 26, 2018 @11:55PM (#56511403)

      What used to cost us $60 cost over $150 when we dropped cable. We went from 20Mb to 100Mb, picked up Netflix, Hulu & Prime (commercial free, multi-viewer packages) and still came out at least $40 cheaper a month. We can't watch everything we might want, but we can always find things we actually want to watch.

      Split the hair any way you like. Cable's been constantly rising in price and there's no added value for the added cost. Cable isn't worth the money any more.

      • by rhazz ( 2853871 )

        My evolution was:

        - Paid about $60/mo and we only watched 4 channels
        - Started watching less TV couldn't justify the expense, downgraded to $40/mo package which lost 2 of the channels we liked
        - Picked up Netflix for $8.99/mo
        - Realized we watched Netflix 5x more than cable, so cancelled cable
        - shake our heads when we think how more much we used to pay for so much less value

    • by Sloppy ( 14984 )

      I'm interested in your swampland.

      Though I don't have the 2000-vs-2018 figures, I do know that my cable TV bill went from about $32 in 1998, to a little over $50 (don't remember exactly how much) in 2006 when I canceled it. Some people who still pay for TV say their bill is around a hundred dollars, and I don't think they're lying.

      Perhaps your point is that everyone is understating the percentage it has increased, since it has actually tripled?

    • I have talked to cable customers getting bills for $200+. They often switch to Dish.

  • The cable companies would see an increase in sustainability if they literally cut their costs in half. Spending $100-200 for Cable and Internet is ridiculous. They have no one to blame but themselves. There is nothing stopping them from negotiating better fees from the failing cable networks they thrust upon us.

  • That can't be right (Score:5, Interesting)

    by viperidaenz ( 2515578 ) on Thursday April 26, 2018 @09:32PM (#56510853)

    They've been telling us online piracy was the cause of it, not their price hikes.

    • by CodeHog ( 666724 )
      Hey don't look at that man behind the curtain! Shhh.... Now we have to go prioritize our traffic over competitors traffic and charge customers for it.
    • by rsborg ( 111459 )

      They've been telling us online piracy was the cause of it, not their price hikes.

      Of course, when I hear that kind of logic, I keep hearing "the beatings will continue until morale improves".

  • Well, duh... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by GerryGilmore ( 663905 ) on Thursday April 26, 2018 @09:49PM (#56510913)
    Dumb-ass faux-capitalist/monopolists control entertainment delivery and content. Technology starts under-cutting their rent-seeking behavior. Rather than respond appropriately, ala carte pricing, etc., they double-down by raising prices and cutting "Customer Service" (a new oxymoron!) and are shocked - shocked! I say! - when customers bail.
    Fuck 'em. Couldn't happen to a greater bunch of guys outside the music industry.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Well at least due to the agreement for the merger of Sharter TWC and BHN they won't be able to introduce any bandwidth caps or overage fees till at least the early 2020's by then we should be full swing into 5G cellular which will probably be the final nail in the coffin for the cable industry.

    • by stooo ( 2202012 )

      >> 5G cellular which will probably be the final nail in the coffin for the cable industry
      That's not how bandwidth works.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 26, 2018 @10:04PM (#56510977)

    Look at the programming. Who want's 600 channels of Reality TV? Does anybody watch that stuff? It's crap.

    Look at Netflix, something like Luke Cage or Altered Carbon. I just can't find content like that on cable, even with premium channels. And then there's the cable box rentals. It's over $200/month, and my local cable company kept dropping the sound out, or the video out, during climatic scenes.

    At one point I realized I could drop cable, still have unlimited internet, and save enough money that I could BUY A NEW DVD every day of the month at a local store with change left over. Snip Snip. Goodby Cable. Goodby commercials & advertising. And good riddance!

    • by Mashiki ( 184564 ) <mashikiNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday April 27, 2018 @11:16AM (#56513619) Homepage

      Reality TV is the real killer in this. That's what drove my parents off of it. They both liked scifi/fantasy/documentaries and then those channels went more and more reality TV. When they pulled the plug late last year, the 4 channels they used to watch in the US were wall-to-wall reality TV and the same here in Canada. Building them a plex server with whatever shows/movies they wanted loaded on it was a far cheaper choice.

      • There is a strange cycle in entertainment. I'm willing to bet it has a name, but if it does I don't know what it is. Anyway, the cycle goes like this:

        1) New style of delivering entertainment on an existing medium is devised.
        2) Style turns out to be very popular and profitable.
        3) Competing entertainment sources on the same medium gradually adopt the same style despite originally being from different market fragments.
        4) Style becomes so saturated in the market that it drives large segments of the market awa

    • by mactari ( 220786 )

      Yeah, you save a ton of dough by picking subscriptions very precisely by what you want to watch rather than lazily accepting you need 600 channels of reality TV so that you "have something to watch".

      I did some figurin' about two years ago, and it looks like I still spend about $27 a month [blogspot.com] for sports and a few shows I particularly enjoy. And I feel like that's extravagant. ;^)

      Just depends on where you like to put your money, I suppose.

  • by nehumanuscrede ( 624750 ) on Thursday April 26, 2018 @10:21PM (#56511045)

    When I look at my Satellite channel lineup ( full package* except premium channels. Eg: No HBO, Showtime, etc ) a rather large percentage of channels are of material I will never watch.

    Channels:

    In languages I don't speak.
    Religious channels.
    Home Shopping style channels.
    Infomercial channels.

    When I actually took the time to cull out all the crap I didn't want to see, I was left with maybe twenty channels in all. Maybe.

    So, perhaps the cord cutting isn't solely because of the price hike, rather the fact the typical user gets a really piss poor amount of content to watch and they have begun to question why they're spending so much on what is, in reality, so little.

    *I only have a dish because I get it at a crazy discount. If I was paying full price for the available content, I would not have it at all.

    • I understand that the bundles nominally subsidize programming for everyone, but yeah... between Amazon Video and Netflix I have access to more content than I can watch, and it is all on demand and commercial free. I do buy The Expanse on Amazon Video since I enjoy it enough that I hope they keep making it, and I buy the Blu Rays for Venture Bros. The value for cable just isn't there anymore. There's no reason to pay to be able to catch the last third of an old movie edited for broadcast on a lazy afterno
      • I think the expanse is all on prime now?

        but i suppose you were watching it before it was available that way

        definitely scratches the itch post BSG
        • Previous seasons are, yes (so 1 and 2). I've been buying the current season (3, just started) each year in an effort to support the show monetarily. Kinda the same deal for why I buy Venture Bros, except I buy the Blu Rays there since it is one of the only shows I rewatch these days and who knows when things are likely to disappear off of streaming.
          • goodness, I didn't know the season started - I like how I found out about it on slashdot

            thanks for letting me know :)
    • by antdude ( 79039 )

      How did you get the crazy discount?

      • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

        Same way you get one for XM. Tell them that you're looking to quit, and haggle down. It's normally $22/mo, I'm paying $9/mo for their 'all access' stuff. Been doing that for 5 years now, it's not that hard to do.

        • by antdude ( 79039 )

          Ah. I wished this worked with other companies like Spectrum. :(

          • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

            Ah. I wished this worked with other companies like Spectrum. :(

            Yeah, they've always been jackasses. Try the direct retention dept, might have better luck.

            • by antdude ( 79039 )

              It didn't work either for anyone. TWC worked though. Stupid Charter. I wished there were competitors in this rural area. :(

              • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

                Stupid Charter. I wished there were competitors in this rural area. :(

                Know that feel. In FL I only had one choice for cable, and up here in Ontario, only had one choice for years.

            • They hilariously tried to get me back when I switched to WOW by not even trying to beat the price I was getting from WOW... "oh, well that price doesn't include lots of fees, so the offer I'm giving you is..." /endcall
    • Religious channels are usually free to the cable company and are provided due to must-carry FCC rules (they're usually broadcast stations in your area.) Home Shopping and Infomercial channels pay to be part of your package, so they reduce the cost somewhat.

      That doesn't, of course, change the fact you're spending $60-80 a month for, ultimately, only a small handful of channels. Which is ludicrous.

    • The fixed cost is huge, but the marginal cost is nearly zero.

      Giving you just the 20 channels you maybe watch costs almost the same as giving you those 20 plus 80 channels of crap.
      In fact, they probably get paid to deliver the home shopping channels, so the cost of 20 might actually be higher than 20 plus 80.

  • by jcr ( 53032 ) <.moc.cam. .ta. .rcj.> on Thursday April 26, 2018 @10:41PM (#56511115) Journal

    The reason I'm not a cable TV subscriber is because those assholes won't just sell me what I want. I don't care about sportsball, I don't want a couple dozen shopping channels, and I don't want 90% of what's in their "packages". Just sell me the movie channels, my local network affiliates, and I'm pretty much done.

    -jcr

    • I mostly agree... but why would you pay for cable if most of what you want is local network affiliates? You could redbox the movies for less than the cable bill and the local stuff is free with an antenna. .
      • why would you pay for cable if most of what you want is local network affiliates?

        If jcr is anything like one of my co-workers, they tried an antenna but could not receive a steady signal due to distance or obstructions.

        You could redbox the movies for less than the cable bill

        Redbox (new releases) is not a substitute for, say, TCM (curated older motion pictures).

  • by Presence Eternal ( 56763 ) on Thursday April 26, 2018 @11:41PM (#56511357)

    I sometimes talk about cord cutting with my elderly fixed income customers, but it's not a rewarding experience. They find the alternatives confusing, and I haven't figured out a good way to explain things to them. Even just clarifying that cancelling 'cable' is not the same thing as cancelling all services from their cable company involves more time than one would think. Then I find I have to start getting into:

    Bandwidth caps: "I like to have the tv on in the background 16 hours a day"
    Service confusion: "What channels do I watch? I don't know."
    Lack of a familiar interface: "How do I surf channels?"

    What usually breaks me is when they mention in passing that they have a "VIP" bundle. When I have to get into alternative voip services and devices on top of streaming services and devices, it's time for me to give up. At that point I've been clarifying stuff for fifteen minutes and have to help someone else google the right ink for their printer.

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Don't worry about it... they'll be dead soon.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      This is a common problem for older people that means they don't have access to the best deals. For example, a lot of energy companies now offer discounts if you have an online-only account with no paper billing or phone contacts, but older people often can't get those due to lack of technical skills.

      Older people are often the ones who need these good deals the most too. Worse still, companies often see these older customers who rarely switch provider as cash cows.

      One proposed solution has been to force the

    • by Optic7 ( 688717 )

      Like an AC mentioned above, over the air TV is the answer to the issue of someone with a bandwidth cap who wants to watch 16 hours of TV a day. In fact OTA should be a major component of most cord cutting solutions, if it's available to you.

      Some over the air broadcast TV benefits (some are dependent on your location and/or type/location of antenna):

      - Unlimited free programming
      - All the major networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, CW) usually in HD
      - Better picture quality than cable or satellite
      - A lot more channel o

    • by rsborg ( 111459 )

      I've come to this with my parents (ie, old people) - I don't try to ask them to give up their cable but I work very hard to make sure they don't pay a dime more than they need to (ie,they leverage the "retention" discussion with Comcast regularly).

      My way to save parents money and stick it to Comcast at the same time.

  • I signed up for cable for an introductory $35/mo rising to $60/mo after a few months. That was about two years ago. When last I checked the internet only bill was $93/mo. It just goes up and up and they rely on you not checking.

    So I figured I would see if it was cheaper to switch back to DSL. I was a DSL customer before I got cable, it was enough for me and they are advertising higher speeds since I last looked. So I call the DSL company, explain that I'm a returning customer, give them my address and ask w

    • Tip for negotiating the internet rate: the social media guys have more leeway than the phone guys for some reason. Way faster to talk to them to get the new customer rate than going over the phone.
  • There is more to the story than the 74% cable/satellite TV price hikes. People in the US are seeing price hikes on everything else, especially so in the following categories: health care costs, housing costs, and student loan costs. Also, people are increasingly seeing that there are other options that are free or cheap: rabbit ear TV, Netflix, Hulu, etc.
  • So, short-sighted pursuit of profits is not a good strategy in the long term? Who knew!
  • by Anonymous Coward

    in 2001 I got cable for $35 teaser price. A year later it went up to $45 or 50. Over the next 7 years in increase several times to around $90. During that period a lot of the shows I liked to watch were bumped up to higher tiers. In 2008 I moved. The old cable at $90 no longer had most of the shows I wanted to watch at the $90 tier. The new location started at $110 or something, and I bailed.
    I figure I only want to watch TV a limited number of hours a week. I don't find any shows an absolute "must watch." S

  • by smallmj ( 69620 ) on Friday April 27, 2018 @05:17AM (#56512147)

    When I cut the cable 4 years ago, a big part of it was that there was nothing that I wanted to watch. The speciality channels that used to have interesting content were full of reality garbage. The networks were full of dreary CSI spinoffs and knockoffs. I didn't subscribe to the premium channels because cable was already expensive enough. Overall, cable just wasn't worth the money. The only thing I watched was the weather, and even that had gone from detailed forecasting to dogs playing in the snow. I'm willing to pay for quality content, but it just wasn't there. But there's always something to watch on Netflix or Crunchyroll.

    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      Same here. When the cable company pulled yet another station from the analog and moved it to digital, I looked as to what I was actually watching. And I mean watching, not having the tv on. It came to about 5 hours per week of BB2.

      As that was a channel from another country, they moved that to digital as well. Even though they would gave me a digital thing for free, I decided that it was just not worth the money.

      In the past you could talk about what you saw the previous day. Now? Not so much. 500 things and

      • by Rakarra ( 112805 )

        So, you say you have 13... errm, I mean, 1300 channels of shit on the TV to chose from? [pink-floyd-lyrics.com]

  • by sad_ ( 7868 ) on Friday April 27, 2018 @06:32AM (#56512293) Homepage

    for me price had hardly anything to do with the reason i don't have cable tv anymore.

    1. there is nothing interesting on, reality rubbish, reruns after reruns of old stuff, soaps, idol contest type of things.
    2. ads at the beginning, in the middle & at the end and then ads between the ads, and ads about ads... horrible, just like browsing the web without an adblocker.

  • by nealric ( 3647765 ) on Friday April 27, 2018 @09:17AM (#56512901)

    It's not about price. The whole idea of watching a "channel" that streams some content only at a specific time that someone else chooses makes no sense to me when there are other options. Yes, you can do DVR, but that's just a crutch and you are SOL if your DVR wasn't set up for whatever specific content you want to watch. Cable is starting to offer more "on-demand" content, but the interface and breath is still usually a tiny fraction of what the major streaming services do.

    At the end of the day, cable TV is just a lousy user experience compared to streaming. This is especially the case for people who only watch TV intentionally- not just to have something on in the background.

    • My children are hilariously unprepared for TV when we're traveling or visiting their grandparents. The concept of stations and limited choice, and not being able to choose among different episodes of the same show really grate them. They loathe the commercials and tune them out so effectively that they don't even register the candy ones, and they love candy! Even if they're watching PBS broadcast they complain about the interstitials for the other PBS shows.
  • by OneHundredAndTen ( 1523865 ) on Friday April 27, 2018 @09:20AM (#56512929)
    Dear cable TV providers: First and foremost, a big middle finger to you all, for you have shown that you are nothing but a bunch of abusive dicks. Second, you haven't got a single dime from me for over ten years now, and I am pretty sure that I have convinced quite a few people in the interim to stop giving any money to you. Third, if you want to ever get any money for me, allow me to select exactly what it is that I want to pay to watch. I might end up paying as much, or maybe even more, but that would be my decision, not yours. Fifth, stop insulting my intelligence by averring that packages are necessary to subsidize minority channels - nobody believes that your pseudo-altruistic claims. Sixth, please stick those said packages you know where. Thank you for your time.
  • Oh yes, I see the logic, we have a bloated overpriced service that so many people don't want because they seek their entertainment in a fashion they have more control over. We have a network we can also sell , but make less profit on then the service. So logically we are going to expand the offerings of the service and require people to pay more for it. Or better yet, we will charge less for cable and internet bundled together then for internet stand alone.

    How about, ask people what they want, and sell i

  • Do you have cable?
    Do you watch cable only on demand?
    Would you pay for cable if it didn't make your internet cheaper?

    • by 4pins ( 858270 )

      This looks fun, let me play

      Do you have cable?

      Yes.

      Do you watch cable only on demand?

      No, but mostly yes.

      Would you pay for cable if it didn't make your internet cheaper?

      Short Answer: No.

      Long Answer: That is not the way I look at it. I pay for internet and literally they throw in cable for free. The only exception is a small cable box rental fee (which we keep to only one box).

      • exactly my point, even of 'the people who have cable' many of them are not actually buying cable they are buying internet. So it makes no sense the 'cable' prices are going up.

  • I've dropped my wired Internet with the local AT&T monopoly and switched entirely to mobile Internet. It's expensive as fuck, but at least my dollars are no longer propping up the monopolistic cable/DSL/fiber regimes. And it keeps getting cheaper. By the time 5g hits, we'll all be able to do the same thing and we can finally bury the corpses of Comcast et al.

  • My ISP accidentally left cable TV coming to my house. I connected a TV to it to see and there it was, something like 80 channels. Then I disconnected it as I don't want that commercially ridden crap.

    So, with "customers" like me, what the heck future does cable TV have, probably a terrible one as not only will the "me's" leave, but I suspect that TV will migrate more and more of its content to complete dumbasses which will drive more people away, not just not appeal to them, but people with half a brain w

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