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A monthly cable bill is rarely cause for celebration; though it is easy to enjoy the services provided by cable TV or cable Internet, it may be confusing to understand which factors affect the cost of a cable bill. Several competing issues may raise or lower the cost of a cable bill, including the package used, the area of service, and the rate of competition in the marketplace. External factors, such as a downturn in the cable market, can also have a direct impact on a monthly cable bill.
Cable is often available in a multitude of packages. With cable television, buyers can choose from different assortments of available channels, adding special options like movie channels or sports networks to a basic package. Generally, the more complex and comprehensive the package, the higher the cost. Additionally, cable is now often sold in “bundles” or a combination of services, such as television, Internet, and phone service packages. While the cost of a bundle may be less expensive than purchasing each service separately, it is often still more expensive than buying just one service alone.
Different regions may charge different prices for cable. This can be based on a variety of factors, including the local or state taxation and fee laws, as well as the availability of competition in the marketplace. Areas with more cable providers may offer better deals, since the companies have to work harder to undercut and outperform their competitors. The cost of living index for the region may also affect a cable bill, since at a certain point rates rise above the amount the majority of customers can afford.
The climate of the media can also cause fluctuations in the cable market. If the programming costs of shows and broadcasts go up, the networks will, in turn, charge a higher price to the cable companies to use the channel. Unwilling or unable to stomach the higher programming cost, the cable company may then pass the increased rates onto customers. Believe it or not, a professional football team hiring the hottest new star for a record salary could eventually raise the cable bill of anyone who receives the channel.
Economic factors may have a serious influence on cable prices. In a slow or down-turned economy, consumers may be more likely to cut out expenses that aren't necessities, such as cable. As a result, profits for the cable companies drop, and they may raise rates for their remaining subscribers. Regardless of the economy, 21st century viewing habits are quite different than past tactics, with more consumers preferring to watch shows on their own time over the Internet or through DVDs.
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