Comcast stealth rate increases get noticed

Comcast likes to do things quietly, and, if possible, on a system-by-system basis. The latest example of that stealth policy are the rate increases the MSO announced starting (at least according to publicity) on the Left Coast then moving to Memphis and now into Pennsylvania. In each case the local media picked up the story and in each case the MSO delivered the same message: a continued investment in new technology, more programming choices "and improvements to customer service" lead to higher prices.

The rate increases may be local but they've not gone unnoticed by national groups opposed to Comcast growing any bigger via a $30 billion NBC Universal acquisition. Free Press associate program director Josh Stearns, for example, used the increases as one more reason the merger shouldn't be allowed. "When one company holds too much power in the media marketplace, consumers see higher bills, homogenized content and fewer viable competitors," he was quoted in a news release.

When you're big (and Comcast is big) you're in the spotlight and everyone picks at everything you do. Now Branding Strategy Insider is taking shots at Comcast's decision to call its services Xfinity, calling the brand name change a "classic marketing mistake" and noting "Comcast is trying to fight a branding war with its heavily hyped Xfinity brand when it should have been fighting a category war ... and telling subscribers why they should buy digital services from a cable company."

For more:
- the Reading Eagle has this story
- see the Free Press statement
- Branding Strategy Insider has this

Related articles:
Comcast rate hikes spark talk of cable alternatives
Comcast launches nationwide on-demand Web TV

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