[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: Re: AT&T Broadband makes NESN basic

Railing against regional sports networks going basic is rather like spitting in
the wind at this stage of the game.

All this talk about escalating cable fees begs discussion as to what is driving
it.  A number of factors spring to mind, including but certainly not limited to
the following:

1.  Costs associated with upgrading infrastructure to support digital cable
boxes and cable modems.

2.  Extraordinary debt taken on by AT&T Broadband in acquiring its subscriber

3.  Endless line extensions of formerly all-in-one channels (e.g. CNN, CNNHN,
CNNNFN, CNNSI...) each with its own per-subscriber fee.

4.  Channels like ESPN which are able to raise per-subscriber fees with impunity
since they have a broadcast network with must-carry rights that they can
threaten cable operators with and thus drive up sports rights fees.

5.  Even the regularity of cable rate increases is its own self-reinforcing
phenomenon; the days of $40/month all-you-can-eat cable modem access are quickly
becoming a distant memory.

BTW, EchoStar is looking to buy DirecTV, which would eliminate competition in
the DBS arena.  My natural disposition against having distribution and
programming under the same corporate umbrella aside, suddenly Rupert looks like
the lesser of two evils.  Then again, I'd prefer that EchoStar and DirecTV
continue duking it out in their present forms; they're the only extant
moderating influence on cable rate increases.

Take care,