Cablevision plans to charge its customers an additional $2.98-a-month fee to pay for the rising cost of sports, beginning 4/1. Cablevision, the nation’s 5th-largest MSO, has about 3 million TV customers in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and parts of Pennsylvania.
Pay-TV providers are increasing customers’ bills as costs climb for sports programming. Verizon FiOS and DirecTV also began charging sports fees for New York subscribers in recent months. The FiOS fee is $2.42 a month. DirecTV’s is $2 for current New York subscribers and $3 for new users in the area, reported Bloomberg.
“The rising cost of programming has resulted in this sports surcharge,” Bradley Feldman, Cablevision’s vice president of video product management, said in the statement. “We are very focused on the price our customers pay for our services.”
Cablevision hasn’t increased subscriber fees since late 2010. The sports fee affects all Cablevision packages except Optimum Economy, a $39.95-a-month plan that doesn’t include most sports channels, and Broadcast Basic.
RBR-TVBR observation: The good news is subscribers have options not to take the added fee via the economy package. That was a good move on Cablevision’s part. MVPDs are realizing that each time they increase fees (often due to sports, which many subscribers have no interest in), they increase the chances of hitting the cord-cutting threshold with customers. Yes, just about everyone is now locked into bundle contracts, but when those contracts are up, customers are going to be looking for lower-cost options. When some MVPD offers true a la carte (or at least something close to it), they will be flooded with new business. That’s what a lot of cash-strapped subscribers are looking for.