Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Peak Cable Television?

Bad enough that idiot box has become little more that a corporate propaganda machine aimed at idiots...but the idiots now have to pay more than ever before for the privilege of being brainwashed. Here is MSNBC with the details:
If you're one of those people who complain that there’s nothing to watch on TV today even though you have a gazillion channels, you’re not going to be happy with this news – turns out, you’re paying more for cable.

The monthly rate for pay TV has been rising at an average of 6 percent annually and hit $86 a month last year for basic pay and premium-channel TV, according to a reported released Tuesday by market research firm The NPD Group. The uptick in licensing fees - which are the fees cable and satellite providers pay for programs - is driving much of the increase, at a time when consumer household income has hardly budged.

At this rate, NDP estimates consumers will be paying an average of $123 a month in 2015 and $200 a month by 2020.

The study was based on a quarterly electronic survey of 1,000 U.S. households.

Not surprisingly, the rising costs are making many consumers pull the plug on premium television. Today, there are five million fewer U.S. households viewing pay-TV services due to the mortgage crisis, the NDP research found, adding that those who did cancel service were prompted to do so because of economic reasons. But overall, the number of pay-TV subscribers has not declined substantially because of “bulk-service pay-TV contracts with apartment complexes and homeowners’ associations that have allowed pay-TV operators to retain subscriptions in vacant homes,” the study said.

Among the pay-TV cord cutters, most are still viewing their favorite shows via free Internet TV, traditional free broadcasting, and video-on-demand services such as Netflix, NDP reported.
The growth of lower-cost options, as well as cash-strapped consumers, is the reason the total number of subscribers of paid TV dropped to 100.9 million in the second quarter of last year, compared to 101.4 million in the first quarter, according to a IHS Screen Digest report released in September.

“As pay-TV costs rise and consumers’ spending power stays flat, the traditional affiliate-fee business model for pay-TV companies appears to be unsustainable in the long term,” said Keith Nissen, research director for NDP. “Much needed structural changes to the pay-TV industry will not happen quickly or easily; however, the emerging competition between S-VOD (subscription video-on-demand) and premium-TV suppliers might be the spark that ignites the necessary business-model transformation of the pay-TV industry.”

Indeed, something’s got to give: $200 a month for cable may end up getting some consumers pulling out their dusty old rabbit ears; that is, if they still work with digital TV.
I linked to a story just the other day which explained that one of the big reasons for the increased fees is that billionaire-owned professional sports teams are charging more and more money for the rights to broadcast their games so they can afford to pay their multimillionaire athletes. It looks like the greedy assholes who run the media and entertainment industry won't be happy until they have squeezed the last dime out of the idiots and the whole industry collapses.

Bonus: Released a half-century ago, this song is still as relevant now as it was then despite the dated references


  1. Re: "the idiots now have to pay more than ever before for the privilege of being brainwashed."

    Sometimes, Bill, you write a perfect sentence which I wish I had written myself.

    This was one of those times.

    -- Dave

  2. I cut my teevee cable service a year ago. I get the netflix streaming and have been catching up on 20 yrs of missed movies and reading WAY more. On the rare occasion that I flip on the local news, I feel like I'm living on another planet. Who ARE these people prattling on and on about shit that has no connection to reality (other than the nightly gand-related homicide box scores)? And WHY THE FUCK are they always laughing at each others inane banter? Then, I think about the 99% of 'mericuhns who have this shit on 8hrs (avg) per day. We're fuckt.

  3. I axed cable TV even while I was still working for the cable TV company many years ago. I haven't missed it one teeny tiny bit. Now my stress levels are less than 1/4 of what they used to be. I don't even like radio, with all the yammering and screaming going on.

    Just the birds singing, the wind blowing, the sound of the rain on the roof. Ahhh.

  4. A while ago I was in the same boat with my cable company too, the price got so high I had to downsize. I kept the internet service because there are not too many other options in my area. I was skeptical of the satellite industry for a while before I started working for Dish, and now I’m a bit more educated on how the service works and what TV plans are offered. I did switch to Dish service because of the employee discount, but I got my dad hooked on the service too. He has two TV’s, DVR, and HD for only a fraction of what he was paying cable. Plus, he added Blockbuster@Home to his monthly plan for streaming movies and disc rentals because he finds it to be a better value than Netflix.