Not cutting the cord? Expect to pay more for cable in 2011

Think cord cutting has the cable guys worried? Think again.

Pay-TV operators, pretty much across the board, plan on increasing their prices in 2011, in some cases as much as 11 percent. Numbers from Bernstein Research's Craig Moffett show price hikes generally are smaller than they were in 2010, but that the operators have pretty much dismissed cord cutting as a source of concern.

Dish Network leads the pack with an 11 percent increase, but the satellite provider says it plans on holding prices steady the next two years as a reward to consumers who sign up now. Time Warner Cable subscribers are looking at a 7.8 percent increase, and Comcast subs will see their bills swell 4 percent. Both those numbers may change, Moffett says, because a small sample size may prompt adjustments.

Cable TV operators have seen modest subscriber defections in recent quarters, some 1.4 million customers left MSOs in the second and third quarters last year. Most, but not all, were picked up by satellite and IPTV operators, a "cord swap."

Analysts say they expect the fourth quarter to show better numbers.

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