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Comcast’s latest move will only remind you how despicable the cable industry is

Published Feb 3rd, 2020 6:35PM EST
Cable vs streaming
Image: imageBROKER/Shutterstock

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For you brave souls out there that still subscribe to Comcast for TV service and who haven’t cut the cord yet, I’m afraid there’s more bad news in store for you at this point.

After the telecom behemoth announced only a few weeks ago that it lost 732,000 TV customers in 2019 (a few months after raising prices, we might add) it seems that more price hikes are on the way. There’s no sense yet on what the timing will be, but the fact that Comcast has confirmed they’re coming could be read as one more sign the pay-TV industry knows its days are numbered, and it’s decided to just milk every cent it can and ride the decline all the way down. Too alarmist? Maybe. But this has gotten to be a cycle at Comcast that is as regular as the changing of the seasons. The company loses more subscribers. New price increases are implemented. Rinse, repeat.

Customers aren’t just going to get hit with an increase in their TV service, either. Cord Cutters News is out with a new report that claims, per sources inside Comcast, that in addition to raising the price of TV service the company is also considering the possibility of an increase in modem rental fees. Additionally, there’s also speculation that Comcast’s Xfinity Secure bundle that includes Internet service and a modem, plus Wi-Fi and unlimited data, will soon cost more, as well.

This will no doubt infuriate many customers, who might read these moves as an incumbent industry player doing the only thing it knows how to do in response to change (raise prices) rather than doing the hard thing and making a change. Of course, Comcast is trying to change in response to the rise of streaming with the imminent launch in July of its new Peacock streaming service. As we recently noted after Comcast’s most recent earnings announcement, Comcast insists these price increases are a necessary byproduct of shifting the emphasis of the business, which continues to shed customers at a faster pace than analysts expected, to streaming. “With the rate adjustments that we are implementing in 2020 as well as the ongoing changes in consumer behavior, we expect higher video subscriber losses this year,” said Comcast CFO Michael Cavanagh.

Pair all of that, including the increases that are coming, with the fact that Peacock (which will include a lot of the NBC content that you love) will have an ad-supported free tier. You could make the case that, in a roundabout way, Comcast’s long-suffering cable TV customers who are going to be hit with price increases soon will in effect be paying more to subsidize the company’s new streamer. The ground is shifting underneath its feet, customers are fleeing in droves, but Comcast will still get paid — because the house, as they say, always wins.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.