Bright House announces pay-TV's latest round of rate increases

Bright House Networks has upped the cost of its bundles and below-the-line fees, according to DSLReports forum posters.

Reps for the privately held, Tampa, Fla.-based MSO have yet to respond to FierceCable's inquiry. But according to the forum posters, rates for double-play packages have increased around $5. The "Premiere TV with Lighting 50," for example, is now $104 a month, up from $99, a forum poster said.

The MSO's "broadcast fee" has doubled to $4 a month, and its regional sports network surcharge is now $2.50 a month.

This comes after Bright House — which is pending takeover by Charter Communications (NASDAQ: CHTR) — announced a number of free Internet speed increases in November.

Bright House is, of course, only the latest MSO to announce fee increases for 2016, with most, if not all, of the major cable companies already informing customers of this now annual occurrence.

While pay-TV operators continue to face year-end rebuke for their annual rate increases for video services, these price increases have not kept up with the growth in programming costs, Evercore analyst Vijay Jayant told investors last month.

While consumers will pay, on average, about 3 percent to 4 percent more per month on their pay-TV bills, operators will pay 8 percent to 10 percent more this year for programming, Jayant said in an investor note.

"Faced with ever-increasing programming costs, almost all of the major Pay-TV operators have announced rate increases for 2016," he said. "We estimate that gross margins on video have decreased by nearly 800 basis points over the last four years as price increases generally averaged around 3-4 percent whereas programming costs have increased in the 8-10 percent range annually."

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