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News Update
DIRECTV Raising Prices Again In 2014
By Swanni

Washington, D.C. (September 25, 2012) -- This is an update on our earlier coverage of DIRECTV raising customer prices.

DIRECTV CEO Mike White said today that his company will again raise monthly subscriber fees next year due to rising programming costs, Variety reports.

White made his disclosure at the Goldman Sachs conference in New York. Variety writes that the DIRECTV executive said his company would be "careful" about the level of price increase.

DIRECTV last February raised prices an average of 4.5 percent and the satcaster has raised prices by a roughly equivalent percentage every year for at least the last seven years, counting the upcoming 2014 increase.

(Here's a story on DIRECTV raising prices in 2012; here's a story on DIRECTV raising prices in 2011; here's a story on DIRECTV raising prices in 2010; here's a story on DIRECTV raising prices in 2009; here's a story on DIRECTV raising prices in 2008; and here's one on DIRECTV raising prices in 2007; and so on and so on...)

White said next year's increase will be less than the 4.5 percent but "while it might be not as much, it is still going to be meaningful," Variety reports.

The satellite executive has frequently railed against content providers who are demanding more money to carry their channels and he hit that theme again today. He also said that some subscribers have dropped their DIRECTV service because of the rising monthly fees caused by the rising programming costs.

"I would say clearly I've seen an impact from consumers on churn in terms of their feeling about the bill," he said.

In related news, White again expressed optimism that DIRECTV would retain its exclusive right to carry the NFL Sunday Ticket after the company's current agreement with the NFL expires after the 2014 season.

Below is earlier coverage of DIRECTV's price hikes.

DIRECTV Raising Prices By 4.5 Percent
By Swanni

Washington, D.C. (December 27, 2012) -- DIRECTV is alerting subscribers in a e-mail letter that their monthly bills will rise an average of 4.5 percent starting in February 2013.

The satcaster defends the increase by saying programmers will demand an increase of roughly 8 percent to carry their channels. DIRECTV has been extremely vocal about the rising cost of program acquisition.

"In 2013, the programming costs we pay to owners of television channels will increase by about 8.0%, but we have chosen to adjust the prices our customers pay by an average of only 4.5%. On February 7, 2013, new pricing will be applied to DIRECTV programming packages and services," the letter states. (The price increase is also detailed here at DIRECTV's site.)

However, the price increases come with a number of changes that are likely to be controversial. For starters, DIRECTV says it will charge a $2 a month surcharge for any regional sports channel in a zip code where the satcaster is "contractually obligated" to carry multiple regional sports channels. (DIRECTV has been testing a $3 a month surcharge in markets with multiple regional sports channels.)

DIRECTV is also raising the monthly fee for HBO by $2 a month ($15.99 to $17.99) unless the premium channel is part of its Premier package, which will now cost $124.99 a month.

In the letter, DIRECTV argues that it will add more services in 2013:

"We are excited about the New Year and our continued commitment to deliver additional value to your DIRECTV service as we launch more HD channels, introduce new technologies and continue to bring you award-winning service," the letter says.

Here are the new package prices for DIRECTV, effective February 7, 2013:

Choice -- $63.99 to $64.99
Xtra -- $68.99 to $70.99
Ultimate -- $74.99 to $77.99
Premier -- $119.99 to $124.99

HBO rises $2 a month unless it's part of Premier package.
Advanced DVR - $10 a month
Advanced Receiver -- $23 a month
Regional Sports Fee -- $2 a month

For subscribers who still have packages that DIRECTV no longer sells to new customers, here are the prices effective February 7, 2013:

Select -- $46.99
Select Choice -- $48.99
Total Choice Limited -- $55.99
Total Choice -- $64.99
Choice Xxtra Classic -- $71.99

DIRECTV says these older packages will continue for customers in good standing. In addition, if you're currently paying a promotional price for your DIRECTV base package, you will continue to pay this price for the remainder of the promotional period.

DIRECTV is not the only TV provider who has announced a 2013 price increase.
Dish and Comcast have also said they will raise monthly prices.

What do you think? Offer your comments below!

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Phillip Swann is president and publisher of TVPredictions.com. He has been quoted in dozens of publications and broadcast outlets, including CNN, Fox News, Inside Edition, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Financial Times, The Associated Press and The Hollywood Reporter. He can be reached at
swann@tvpredictions.com or at 703-505-3064.

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