A Tale of Two Buckets
When you pay your monthly bill for cable service, you’re writing a check for two cost “buckets.” The first one represents the costs of providing service. That includes installing and maintaining technical facilities, and employees to answer your call and come to your home to resolve problems, as well as the normal expenses common to every business, like paying the electric bill and our taxes. WOW! works hard to keep these costs under control, and we operate more efficiently than many cable companies.
The second bucket is the fees programmers charge for their channels. Today, about 45 cents of every dollar of your monthly bill for cable television goes to the programmers whose channels we carry. It takes money to produce quality programming, and reasonable increases are a fact of life. But recently, some programmers have demanded huge increases for certain networks, doubling or tripling their fees, or even more. To get these excessive price hikes, some programmers are willing to remove their networks from your channel line-up. WOW! does everything possible to prevent that from happening.
For die-hard sports fans and non-fans alike, sports channels are the most expensive networks on your cable lineup. More than half of what you pay for your WOW! channel lineup goes to sports networks – whether you watch them or not. Offering a separate package of sports channels would give you more choice and greater value, but sports networks want everyone to pay for their channels without any say in the matter. They refuse to give even the most loyal fans access to any games unless every other family relents. It’s like a “sports tax” on every customer – and that’s on top of local taxes and tuitions most customers already pay to support the public universities and professional franchises that produce the games.
In 2013, sports programming prices on Basic Cable went up by more than seven times the rate of inflation, and prices keep soaring. Most teams aren’t playing more games than they used to. But professional leagues, college conferences and even individual teams keep carving those games up into new networks, each with an expensive price tag. Something needs to change.
Customers want the opportunity to choose. At WOW!, we believe every fan should be able to see any team’s game that is available on TV. At the same time, families with other interests shouldn’t be forced to pay for games they have no desire to watch.