Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt, cable’s Jeremiah when it comes to the industry’s rising prices, appeared more worried than ever today — and still out of step with his colleagues — when he discussed the issue with Wall Street analysts at the annual Cable Show taking place this week in DC. “People are starting to pay attention to the fact that the multichannel TV package, the big package which is in 90% of the homes, is starting to get too expensive for lower-income people,” he said. Broadcast networks, sports channels and others who have stepped up their demands for higher rates shouldn’t become cavalier just because “nothing is going to happen” with Sen. John McCain’s bill to promote a la carte pricing. (Britt added, “And he doesn’t think so either, by the way.”) The bill is “just the beginning of it. It would behoove the whole industry including the content companies who are all crowing about their pricing power to pay attention because it will come to some end that we may not like if we all keep behaving the way we are.” It was hard to find others at the industry love fest who’d publicly agree. “Every once in a while there are publicized disputes” about pricing, Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman said today. “But consumers are more and more satisfied with the product. … It’s remarkable how resilient the product has been because consumers are satisfied.” Discovery CEO David Zaslav says that “the basic package in cable is a fantastic value.” And Comcast CEO Brian Roberts says the status quo’s working: “We have as many multichannel video customers as we did last year and the year before.”
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