Dan Holden's Blog

Screenwriting, Film-Making and Web TV

Cable Bills Don’t Reflect Viewing Reality

espn sportsYour cable bill has increased by an average 4.5 percent per year to $90 per month, but what are you getting for the increased cost?

Mostly, expensive shows that you aren’t watching.

That’s the conclusion of a study compiled by SNL Kagan and published in The Wrap. According to the study, the average cable subscriber is paying for packages of shows including many with carriage fees that are out of proportion to viewership.

ESPN is typically among the most expensive, with a carriage fee of  $4.50, or 6 percent of the subscriber’s monthly bill.

But according to the study, ESPN finished 2013 as only the third-most-watched network overall. The most-watched network, USA, commands only the sixth- highest carriage fee, collecting a modest $0.71 per subscriber on average.

In fact, a comparison of SNL Kagan and Nielsen numbers shows that four of the Top 10 most-watched basic cable channels — History, A&E, FX and AMC – don’t even crack the list of the Top 10 most expensive.

In contrast, four of the 10 most expensive networks are not among the most popular. They are the NFL Network, ESPN 2, Nickelodeon and CNN.

Insiders say the ESPN disparity can be explained in part by the hugely expensive professional sports contracts the network holds to broadcast games. Cable providers are afraid to play too much hardball with the sports networks, because they consider them too valuable.

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This entry was posted on March 16, 2014 by in News and tagged , , , .
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