By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man –@tvanswerman

TV Answer Man, how can Dish raise our prices when they don’t carry all our channels? We haven’t had our CBS station in months! How can they get away with this? Shouldn’t they be lowering our prices? — Jennifer, Dayton, Ohio.
Jennifer, Dish announced yesterday that it’s raising the price of its programming packages by $5 a month effective October 12, 2023. The price increase seems to come at an inopportune time because Dish is now involved in four different carriage disputes which has left it missing 77 network affiliates. The fee fights are with Hearst, Cox Media, Mission and White Knight and include dozens of markets.

However, it’s not surprising that Dish is raising prices now although it’s likely that many subscribers, such as Jennifer, would say it’s time to lower them. The satcaster has raised prices every year for the last several years, usually in January although it’s been October/November the last two years. The reason for the price hikes? The rising cost of programming acquisition. The networks continue to increase their fees for carrying their signals and Dish feels compelled to pass the increase to its customers. The company isn’t alone here. Other TV providers, such as DIRECTV, have been doing the same for years as well. Dish is betting that most subscribers have come to understand this economic reality and, consequently, will accept the price hike without cancelling.

The satcaster also knows that many subscribers are tied to two-year programming contacts and can’t cancel unless they pay a $20 a month termination fee for every month left in the contract. They agreed to the contract to get benefits such as Dish’s current three-year price lock. (Customers enrolled in the price lock agreement will not have to pay the $5 a month increase in their plans.)

Finally, the price increase is ‘just’ $5 a month. That’s not a hefty hike so it’s more likely that subscribers will accept it. Some TV providers will increase certain packages by as much as $10 a month. But the $5 increase, which is the same as last year’s price boost, is less likely to ruffle feathers.

Jennifer, hope that makes sense. Happy viewing and stay safe!

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— Phillip Swann