DirecTV To Raise Rates 4.5% In '13; Will Add Monthly Regional Sports Fee
DirecTV next year will implement a "price hike that will increase customer bills an average of 4.5%," claiming that the fees "it pays broadcasters and cable networks will rise by about 8% next year," according to Todd Spangler of MULTICHANNEL NEWS. DirecTV's Xtra package -- currently called Choice Xtra, "which the operator says is its most popular package -- will go up $2 monthly," from $68.99 to $70.99. DirecTV said that it also is "levying a $2 per month regional sports fee 'in select ZIP codes where DirecTV is contractually obligated to distribute multiple Regional Sports Networks.'" New standard-definition and HD channels it has added include "beIN Sport, Time Warner Cable SportsNet and TWC Deportes" (MULTICHANNEL.com, 12/27). DirecTV Chair, President & CEO Mike White, who was named Multichannel News' Exec of the Year, said, "I believe the industry made a mistake in not having the regional sports networks be an a la carte service 10 years ago. But am I going to be able to force that to happen? I don't know. I'm pretty realistic about that. ... At some point we're all going to have to look at if it's all a la carte options, whether it is surcharges on a consumer's bill for certain services, because there is no other way to start passing it through." He said of DirecTV's deal with the NFL, "We value the relationship and we want to continue the relationship, but it has to be somewhat sensible economics for the product as it is, unless they choose they want to change the product to something nonexclusive. If they did, we'd still be interested in carrying it" (MULTICHANNEL NEWS, 12/24 issue).