Unless something changes, cable TV prices are headed for the stratosphere, according to an industry forecast released yesterday. At the rate cable prices have been increasing—about 6% per year—analysts see them hitting $200 a month by 2020, which, the New York Post quips, might be enough to displace $5 gas as "America's new household budget buster." That $200 doesn't include Internet or phone either, it's just the price of paid TV.
"As pay-TV costs rise and consumers’ spending power stays flat, the traditional affiliate-fee business model for pay-TV companies appears to be unsustainable," said one researcher from the NPD Group, which issued the report. The group blames the cost hikes on the unending battle between cable operators and content providers over revenues. Consumers are already responding; 9% of cable subscribers canceled last year, and another 11% say they intend to do so.