Friday, January 15, 2016

Comcast Pushes Channels Off Basic

The NY Post has reported that Comcast is taking underperforming networks off their basic tier to reduce costs.  The networks targeted include Pop (the former TV Guide Channel, Spike and CMT (both Viacom owned networks) that are being moved to a more expensive digital tier.  It may not be a drop but it certainly reduces their subscriber base.  The article says that Comcast is creating skinnier bundles and reducing costs but it is unlikely that those costs will be passed directly on to consumers; rather, it may only delay the need to raise the costs of the basic tier. 

Unfortunately, when you look a little deeper, these three networks are hardly the financial reason why a cable subscription is expensive.  They are pennies per month in license fees compared to sports programming and other more popular cable networks.  And they were chosen because Pop is an independent network and Viacom has very little leverage with its other sister networks MTV, VH1 and Comedy Central.  None have the cache or demand that they once had. 

Comcast and other cable operators are already feeling the heat from cord cutting.  And big cable networks like ESPN are suffering directly with lost subscriber fees.  This article may only be detailing Comcast's first steps at taking more bolder steps to create a skinnier basic package to retain its cable customer base.  Cutting cable costs and promoting faster broadband service with a cable subscription are two ways cable operators like Comcast can reverse the cord cutting trend. 

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