The past year has been a very bad one for Comcast. It’s been regularly humiliated by stories about its atrocious customer service, it’s lost a high-profile net neutrality fight with the Federal Communications Commission and it’s seen its proposed megamerger with Time Warner Cable essentially blocked. However, Comcast isn’t one to take such slights lying down and now its plan to get back at its haters and critics has started to take shape.
The first part involves a time-tested Comcast favorite: Raising prices. DSLReports brings us word that customers from around the country have been getting notices that Comcast will be raising prices by $3 per month for broadband services and $2 per month for renting an HD DVR.
“Due to increases we incur in programming and other business costs, we periodically need to adjust our prices as we make these and other investments,” Comcast explained.
Comcast tells us that these price increases were announced at the beginning of the year and are just now taking effect in certain areas. In other words, these price increases have nothing to do with its TWC merger being shot down.
That said, as cord cutting increases and Comcast starts losing revenue on its pay TV services, it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see broadband prices keep going up. Comcast knows that streaming TV on the Internet is the future and it’s not going to want to take a big revenue hit as more people go to Netflix and other services to get their TV fixes.
The second part of Comcast’s plan comes to us via Quartz, which reports that the cable giant “has been engaged in halting negotiations to acquire Vox Media.” Vox Media, for those of you who don’t know, is the owner of news websites such as Vox, The Verge and, most recently, Re/code. All three of those websites have been very critical of Comcast and regularly featured articles that slammed its proposed merger with Time Warner Cable.
In other words, Comcast would be buying up websites that for the past couple of years have been some of its harshest critics. This would raise similar concerns that were raised recently when Verizon announced plans to buy AOL, which owns websites such as The Huffington Post and TechCrunch that were both big proponents of net neutrality.
At any rate, any Comcast haters who thought the company would just roll over after suffering multiple defeats over the past year were sorely mistaken. Comcast isn’t used to losing and we can expect it to aggressively reassert itself in the marketplace now after a year of missteps and setbacks.