The laws of capitalism suggest that when a business sheds several hundred thousand customers each quarter, the company innovates its products, looking to increase value in ratio to price.
But the telecom business — which notoriously lets its loyal wireless customers walk out the door as it spends fortunes on marketing and gadget discounts chasing new ones — never seems to abide by the basic economic principles that seem to govern the rest of us.
The pay TV sector is another prime example. Dish Network, which shed another 202,000 linear satellite-TV customers in the second quarter, just repeated its annual late-year ritual, announcing across-the-board price increases (opens in new tab) for its linear satellite TV plans.
The experience being offered? Not innovated or improved.
- Welcome Pack — up $2 to $49.99
- Smart Pack — up $5 to $55.99
- Flex Pack — up $4 to $57.99
- Dish America — up $5 to $72.99
- America’s Top 120 — up $5 to $87.99
- America’s Top 120+ — up $5 to $92.99
- America’s Top 200 — up $5 to $102.99
- America's Top 250 — up $5 to $112.99
- America's Everything Pack — $137.99
- DishLATINO Básico — up $5 to $56.99
- DishLATINO Clásico — up $5 to $59.99
- DishLATINO Plus — up $5 to $66.99
- DishLATINO Dos — up $5 to $85.99
- DishLATINO Max — up $5 to $97.99
What impresses us is how easy it would now be to achieve the once unthinkable -- and unsustainable — $200-a-month pay TV bill. Add $15 a month for Hopper DVR service, along with $7 each for Joey receivers in various secondary viewing rooms; toss in taxes and surcharges, and you've got yourself the monthly payment for a 1995 Chrysler-Plymouth Neon, a popular hunk-a-junk American subcompact, sold in the year Dish first launched.
For its part, Dish is using the same old tired rhetoric — it's just passing the buck … of taking more bucks.
“The price that we pay for programming continues to rise,” the company said. “In fact, the fastest growing cost we and all other TV providers have is driven by the cost we pay the programmers. We will continue to work hard for fair deals with these programmers to keep channel costs and the price you pay as low as possible. Unfortunately, you may have observed some channel interruptions because of this.” ▪️
Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!
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