While cable TV bills increased about 7.5% in the second half of 2008 to $71 per month, according to research firm Centris, satellite television customers saw their bills go up even more.
Satellite TV bills averaged $74 per month in the last half of 2008, up almost 9% — or $6 — from the same period a year earlier, according to Lauren Leavitt, manager of syndicated research for Centris.
The data is based on an ongoing phone survey Centris conducts of U.S. consumers, averaging 1,000 respondents per week. The time period in the Centris report reflected an average month from July through December 2008.
What explains the increases for pay TV?
Centris president Bill Beaumont said it’s mainly that the cost of programming packages has continued to increase. Also factored into that may be that more consumers are taking higher-end options, like DVRs and HD service.
Beaumont said Centris’s research has found there’s been an uptick in the last several months of people calling their cable, telco or satellite provider to “get a deal” and reduce their monthly bill — correlating, he said, with the rising unemployment rate.
However, number of people canceling cable will remain small, he predicted.
“The overall industry is known to be resilient to economic downturns,” Beaumont said. “That’s the dominant trend. The overwhelming number of consumers will continue to watch TV and buy entertainment services.”
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