DirecTV, Comcast will raise pay TV fees next year

The Comcast logo is seen on a retail store in Sacramento, California on July 3, 2015. (Photo: Matthew Keys / The Desk)

Pay TV companies Comcast and AT&T say they will increase fees for video subscribers next year.

In a notice sent to subscribers last week, Comcast said it would hike the price of several pay TV packages by as much as $10 a month, though most packages will see a modest fee increase of between $2.50 and $5 a month. The fee increase was first reported by a social media user on Reddit.

The cable giant is also raising a little-known broadcast TV fee that is charged to subscribers who receive local channels. Comcast includes local channels in all of its pay TV packages and provides no way for subscribers to opt-out of receiving them.

The broadcast fee will now hover between $16 and $18 a month for most subscribers, bringing it in line with what Comcast charges for customers in major metropolitan areas. The fee applies even in markets like San Francisco, Chicago and Philadelphia where Comcast owns the local NBC and Telemundo stations.

Comcast will also raise fees on some of its hardware equipment used to receive its television programming, though typically these fees will only be increased in homes with more than one cable box.

Not to be outdone, Comcast’s rival AT&T says it will also raise programming fees next year for subscribers of its satellite TV service DirecTV. Packages will cost $5 to $9 more a month starting in mid-January, though customers who receive special promotional pricing won’t see their fees increase.

The programming price increase may be offset for some customers who subscribe to premium movie networks: AT&T says it will lower the cost of Showtime, Cinemax and Starz, bringing them in line with how much those networks charge customers who receive programming over the Internet.

Unlike Comcast, AT&T says it has no plans to raise fees charged for local broadcast stations received on DirecTV.

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