Dish to Raise Rates in 2014, Keeps Blaming Programmers for Hikes

Satcaster will increase price of core programming packages $3-$5 per month starting Feb. 1

Dish Raise Rates 2014, Keeps Blaming

Dish Network in February will increase prices on core programming packages for most customers by $5 per month — among other fee hikes — and as usual, the satcaster is putting the blame for the bigger bills on broadcast and cable TV nets.

Dish said the “moderate price adjustments” will be effective Feb. 1, 2014. Customers will begin receiving bills in mid-January for February service, and Dish said it’s proactively communicating with subs about the increases.

Rival satcaster DirecTV also intends to raise rates in 2014, CEO Mike White said at an industry conference in September. DirecTV has not announced details of the new rates.

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“Dish is bearing the burden of these programmer rate increases with our customers, holding price increases below those of our primary competitors over the past two years,” the company said in a statement, adding, “The average percentage change that Dish customers will see with this increase is lower than the rate at which Dish’s programming costs will grow in 2014.”

Dish is currently in midst of negotiating a new deal with Disney for carriage of eight ABC stations, ESPN, Disney Channel and other cablers. Their previous pact, reached in 2005, expired Sept. 30. Besides higher programming rates, the automatic ad-skipping capabilities of Dish’s Hopper DVR is one of the contentious issues; ABC is among broadcasters suing Dish over the feature.

Dish said customers currently receiving promotional rates will continue to pay the same rates through the end of the promo period, which typically lasts 12 months.

The satcaster also will raise rates on the Hopper DVR — from $10 to $12 per month — and additional Hopper receivers will increase from $7 to $12 monthly (although existing customers with a second Hopper will receive credits for 18 months to offset the fee increase). In addition, customers with standard Spanish-language packages will see an increase of $3-$6 per month.

“We will continue to work on behalf of our customers by negotiating hard and seeking congressional help to modify outdated laws,” Dish said in a statement. Pay TV operators argue that the FCC’s current retransmission-consent regime gives broadcasters undue leverage in negotiations. Last week, two congressional bills proposing to revamp those rules were introduced.

News of Dish’s 2014 price increases was posted this week in a discussion forum on SatelliteGuys.