LOOK WHO’S FOOTING THE BILL FOR ALL THOSE BIG CABLE DEALS
Those multimillion-dollar retransmission-consent agreements that cable systems have signed with broadcasters and those similarly over-the-top deals that they have made with popular cable channels are sending the monthly bills of cable subscribers soaring. According to market researchers The NPD Group, monthly subscription rates are growing at an average rate of 6 percent per year, reaching $86 in 2011 and heading for $123 within the next three years and $200 within the next eight years. That rise is occurring at a time when average consumer earnings remain flat. During the past year, some five million fewer U.S. households were watching cable TV — largely due to the turbulent mortgage crisis, which has seen many families moving out of homes and into apartment complexes that pay a single fee for multiple units.