Programmer fees and lengthy station negotiations have been showing up in the news more and more as the conversation on Cable TV providers being forced to raise rates to cover these costs continues. Great Plains Communications feels education is key in providing you with an explanation of what exactly programmer fees are and what they mean for Cable TV subscribers.
What are Programmer (Network) fees?
A significant portion of your Local TV bill is passed on to Cable network and broadcast station owners (networks, or programmers). Cable TV providers are under contract with programmers and charged a fee per channel, per month, per customer for the right to provide that station or network to their customers.
- These fees have increased dramatically at 3½ times the rate of inflation over the last 16 years.
- These fees apply to stations on your cable lineup and increase every year.
If I don’t even watch most of my channels, why do I still have to be responsible for all of these fees?
All Satellite and Cable TV providers pay each network owner (programmer) a fee for every household that receives a particular network – regardless of whether anyone in the household actually watches it. Rising programmer costs are a situation that all Cable TV providers must address on an annual basis.
Many customers would prefer to pay for only the most popular networks and a select group of quality, special-interest channels that appeal to them. This is something providers would like to offer, but most networks will not allow it. Unfortunately, the programmers often have the upper hand in how their networks are packaged.