Wall Streeters speak, but will cable listen and do something about higher prices?

Higher programming costs translated into higher cable service fees could kill the goose that's laying golden eggs for cable operators and their programmers, Wall Street cable TV analysts warned at The Cable Show in Los Angeles.

"The idea that $80 a month is OK for basic cable is dangerous," said Craig Moffett, a Sanford Bernstein analyst. "The rate of programming cost rises has pushed the entry level of for-pay TV to dangerously high levels."

Jessica Reif-Cohen, a Bank of America Merrill Lynch analyst, was even more ominous, throwing out two scenarios designed to shake cable operators to their foundations. "At some point the government is going to step in or we're going to go a la carte," she said, noting that she doubted programmers would ever consider lowering prices to help the overall industry.

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