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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
 http://www.oaklandtribune.com/Storie...919794,00.html


For the second year in a row, satellite TV providers are raising their monthly rates.


On Feb. 1, Echostar Communication's DISH Network satellite TV rates will go up $1 a month to $49.99 for a 180-channel programming package. But they will go up only a penny for a 120-channel package to $39.99 while the $29.99 price for a 60-channel package will remain the same. All packages include local channels.


On March 1, rival DirecTV will raise rates for packages whose offerings also include local channels. The price of a 130-plus channel package will increase by $1 to $39.99, the price of a 145-plus channel package goes up $3 to $42.99 and the price of 210-plus channel package will increase by $3 to $90.99.


The rate hikes for the satellite carriers have been lower and less frequent than those for the dominant local cable provider.


Comcast Cable, the Bay Area's main cable TV provider, raised rates for 2004 on average of about $2.40 a month to $41.07 for standard cable, which includes about 80 channels of programming. For Comcast, rate hikes vary depending on what city you live in and whether you live in an upgraded neighborhood.


That's not the case with satellite TV, where rate hikes are the same no matter where you live.


This year's rates hikes follow ones of about $2 rolled out in 2003 by the two satellite TV providers. Prior to then, DISH Network raised basic package rates by about $1 in 2002 while DirecTV had a $2 increase for most basic packages in 2000.


Representatives of DISH Network and DirecTV said, as in the previous year, current increases were largely due to higher programming costs.


"Since 2000, our programming costs have risen 32 percent," said Jade Valine, a spokeswoman for DirecTV, a subsidiary of Hughes Electronics Corp. Last year, News Corp., the Australian media giant headed by Rupert Murdoch, became Hughes' largest shareholder by buying out General Motors' interest.


Together, the two satellite providers have more than 21 million subscribers nationwide, including more than 2.3 million subscribers in California. Nationwide, there are more than 73 million cable TV subscribers.


Bruce Leichtman of Leichtman Research Group noted that while programming costs explain part of the satellite TV increase, it's likely the companies are also raising prices to be more profitable. Now that both DirecTV and DISH Network are gaining market share, it's not surprising that they are starting to raise rates, he said.


"The wonder of direct broadcast satellite is that you don't have the infrastructure costs of cable once you launch (satellites). They held prices pretty steady for a long time," he said. "Now that they've got the base, it only makes sense to push (prices) up a little bit."
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by Chuck_IV
Your title should say D* and E*
It's early. Thanks.
 
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