TWC says local programming cost shot up 85% since 2013, announces its own rate increases

Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) is continuing what has become a holiday tradition in the pay-TV business: raising rates for the following year.

TWC's rates for both cable and Internet services, as well as equipment fees, are being raised across the board. 

"Our new prices reflect our continued investment in the performance and reliability of our networks and equipment, along with the rapidly rising costs of programming, especially local broadcast channels and cable sports networks," said TWC spokesman Rich Ruggiero.

Among the increases, TWC's monthly rates for the MSO's Starter TV package are rising from $14.99 to $18 a month, while the Standard TV pack goes from $82.99 to $84.99.

The TWC Sports Pass add-on package is going from $8.99 to $10 a month, and the TWC Movie Pass is increasing from $7.99 to $10. Both Cinemax and Starz are going from $12.95 a month to $14.

"Some customers who pay individual pricing for video or Internet plans may see an increase of up to $3 on their video plan or $2 on their Internet plan," Ruggiero said, adding: "Note: there has been no increase in TWC Internet plans since January 2014, and there is still no change in the price of Everyday Low Price Internet."

The MSO also said set-top box prices will be "largely standardized" at $11.75/month. "But we are eliminating a $1.50 additional digital outlet fee," Ruggiero said. "Because of historical price differences across markets, a customer with two boxes, for example, could see no net price change or even a price decrease for their boxes; others may see a total increase of up to $1.50/month."

Meanwhile, the so-called Sports Programming Surcharge nearly doubles from $2.75 to $5. The Broadcast TV Surcharge -- which ostensibly offsets rises in retransmission fees paid to broadcasters -- increases by a dollar to $3.75.

"We have deployed more than 5 million new set-top boxes and advanced modems this year, and have invested $2 billion in our networks and equipment in 2015," Ruggiero added. "When it comes to programming, the per-customer cost of local broadcast channels continues to rise dramatically, increasing 85 percent since 2013. And the per-customer cost of cable sports programming is up 116 percent since 2008. The changes in the Broadcast TV Fee and Sports Programming Surcharge cover, some, but not all, of those higher programming costs."

The rate increases follow price-increase announcements from AT&T (NYSE: T) and Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) last week. 

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