Cox Communications customers in Orange County can hang on to their money for just a bit longer. The Rancho Santa Margarita cable TV provider said that no cable price increases are planned for 2010. At least not yet.
“As far as rates, at this point Cox has nothing set in stone regarding rate increases in 2010,” said spokeswoman Lana Ong in response to my query about 2010 price increases.
December and January tend to be prime time to notify customers of upcoming rate hikes. During these months a year ago, Time Warner, AT&T U-verse and Cox all told customers monthly bills were going up.
So far, for 2010, Time Warner has notified customers that some will see their monthly bills increase a few dollars in January. See the earlier story: “Time Warner 2010 price hikes mostly affect those who order the least.”
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Of course, this doesn’t mean Cox won’t raise its rates in 2010. This year, the company upped rates in March. Last year, rates also went up in March. The official word today, however, is no increases are planned.
Cable providers are losing subscribers and not making as much money as they used to. A big reason for annual price increases is because the TV networks they offer are asking for more money themselves.
The nation’s largest cable company, Comcast Corp., took steps this month to offset some of those rising costs by buying a TV network. The deal, valued at $30 billion, will make Comcast the owner of NBC, which includes the channels such as USA, Bravo, SyFy, CNBC, MSNBC and Universal.
Currently, Time Warner is negotiating with News Corp. (Fox TV) and Scripps Networks Interactive (Food Network, HGTV). In an effort to publicize what it considers unfair price hikes for the channels, Time Warner launched a marketing campaign asking customers whether it should cave to the increases or get tough, even if it means losing the channel. While the campaign is obviously a marketing tactic, it attracted 400,000 consumers who told Time Warner to get tough.
Cox, meanwhile, just let go of the Travel Channel, selling most of it to Scripps Networks. Cox kept a 35 percent ownership.
For their part, both Orange County cable providers have added several new channels this year. Most recently, Cox customers should have seen 15 new HD channels show up this week. See the earlier story, “Cox adding 15 HD channels in December.”