• Cable’s Con Job: More Than Just Channels

    by  • May 30, 2013 • Cable Choice • 1 Comment

    The cable industry has long made billions of dollars off of customers with its practice of “bundling” – forcing each subscriber to pay for hundreds of channels they don’t want to get a few they do. But TV channels aren’t the only things the companies “bundle.”

    As The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson points out, most of the same companies who sell cable TV subscriptions also sell Internet access and phone plans. Comcast subscribers are familiar with its “Triple Play” plan, whereby if the subscriber purchases phone, Internet, and cable TV in a “bundle,” they pay slightly less for each, while a customer wanting only one of the three will pay nearly as much as all three together.

    Thus, even as more and more consumers are “cutting the cord” and watching TV by other means (primarily Internet streaming) – a process which is causing cable subscriptions to plunge — the cable industry continues to rake in the money – since they’re not only selling bundles of channels, but bundles of services, and the same people who are ditching cable are still paying them for Internet access. Thus, even as cable subscription have declined, the same companies are still making money hand over fist off the very same customers — because they’re able to sell other services like internet and phone.

    While Cable Choice alone is a noble goal, the vast entertainment and telecommunications conglomerate still has the American consumer in its grasp. Perhaps what is needed is a latter-day Teddy Roosevelt, who would “bust the trusts” of the telecommunications industry.



    Christopher Gildemeister is the PTC’s Head of Research Operations. He began as an Entertainment Analyst at the PTC in 2005. From 2007-2016, he was Senior Writer/Editor, responsible for communicating the PTC’s message to the public through newsletters, columns, and the PTC Watchdog blog. Dr. Gildemeister holds a Ph.D. from The Catholic University of America.

    One Response to Cable’s Con Job: More Than Just Channels

    1. Gary Woods
      May 31, 2013 at 9:07 am

      COX Communications is another major cable company which “bundles” in that they supposedly give one a “discount” if they elect to sign for phone, cable, and TV. Unfortunately, they also make you purchase “tiers” in order to get any particular programming one might want. They offer a “bundle discount” if you subscribe to all three services, however, they can manipulate the discount. For example, I recently had the need to contact COX regarding the different between my bundle discount of $9.50 and some other friends of mine were received upwards of $30.00 with the same coverages as mine. After agreeing to lower my internet premium for one year, I quickly realized that they had taken away my bundle discount, which rendered the savings less advantageous that originally thought..

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