Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Entertainment Inflation

How ironic - I cancelled Time Warner Cable in November because of their price increase on the receivers (which were not protected by my two year price guarantee) and switched to DirecTV.  After less than three months on DirecTV, I receive this letter with all it's accolades and justifications  ---  #1..., unparalleled, most, lighting fast, optimized, very best, enhanced, exceptional, we strive....    BUT  because of the evil content providers our costs have increased 10% but we are only going to increase the fee to you 4%.  Funny the price increase is effective Feb. 9, 2012 and I received the letter Feb. 14, 2012.

Now that is Entertainment Inflation! 

But the next question is--- since I signed a two year contract, am I price protected?  I'm hopeful, but skeptical (maybe I should have read the fine print in the "Other Terms and Conditions" section).   In today's letter it states "If you are currently receiving a promotional offer, you will continue to receive the promotional price for the remainder of the offer period" and "Customers who currently subscribe to these [Legacy Base] packages may maintain them as long as their account is in 'good standing' as determined by DirecTV in its sole discretion".

The DirecTV bill is as complicated as my Duke Energy bill.  Add to that DirecTV is changing the names of all the "Legacy Base Packages" and  legacy receivers to help confuse the consumer.  My Choice XTRA  package ($65.99) becomes Choice XTRA CLASSIC package ($68.99) and my DirecTV DVR Service ($7) becomes Advanced Receiver-DVR ($8).  Who knows how many of the channels will change indiscriminately.

So do I have a price guarantee  until November 2013?  No--- if you look carefully at my bill, the promotion period for the Choice XTRA package is 12 months ($36 off).  So it is likely my bill in November 2012 will increase $39  (the $36 discount and the $3  February price increase) for the content.  And what about the DVR receiver increase of $1 (which is why I got upset at Time Warner in the first place)?  I give it a 50/50 chance that my next bill will have an extra $1 charge since there is no promotional discount on this item.

I'm beginning to wonder about the value of cable or satellite when the retail cost exceeds $75/mth.

Let's summarize:

(1) The letter says "prices adjusted by an average of only 4%"  -----my actual  5.4%  ($4/$73)
(2)  The letter says "programming costs were the cause"  ------   but they raised the price of the  DVR reciever which has nothing to do with the owners of the TV channels
(3)  They can change the content and prices indiscriminately  - yet I have a 2 yr contract with penalties for cancellation

Once again locked in Entertainment prison.  I didn't learn my lesson.

No comments:

Post a Comment