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Old 01-19-2016, 08:27 AM   #341
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I agree. If anything, the pricing is still a bit below the value delivered, kept artificially low due to concerns about attracting too much vindictive big-company hate. ...
I don't see how you can make that statement. Value is a subjective thing, especially when it comes to entertainment.

I don't think we would know the true 'value' (on average) unless we had a more open market, with real competition. Then supply/demand would set the average 'value'. In far too many cases, there really isn't much choice - it is either essentially a utility/monopoly, or an oligopoly.

If the price of products could be 'kept artificially low due to concerns about attracting too much vindictive big-company hate', then there sure would be a lot of great bargains from big companies. The same customers are buying gasoline from the same big companies, whether the price is $4.80/gallon, or $1.80/gallon.

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Old 01-19-2016, 08:33 AM   #342
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I don't see how you can make that statement. Value is a subjective thing, especially when it comes to entertainment.
That's precisely how I can make that statement. When talking about pricing for a cable company, value is the perception of their customers. Individual variances from that don't matter much - what matters is the effective collective perception, and by that measure there is value that they're not getting paid for, for the reasons I mentioned above.

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I don't think we would know the true 'value' (on average) unless we had a more open market, with real competition.
The impact (or really, the lack of impact) of competition on pricing, where it exists, is one of the clearest indicators of what I have said. What we saw when FiOS and RCN came to portions of Burlington, after the introductory period, is prices going up, not down. RCN, generally speaking, ended up charging a few dollars less a month for much lower grade service. FiOS ended up charging significantly more for a much higher grade service. But the variance between low and high with three competitors was remarkably small. Banning profit would substantially lower prices. Other than that, there is no reason to expect such a bonanza.

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If the price of products could be 'kept artificially low due to concerns about attracting too much vindictive big-company hate', then there sure would be a lot of great bargains from big companies.
And that's what we're seeing, even though many are convinced that they're being gouged.
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Old 01-19-2016, 08:45 AM   #343
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That's precisely how I can make that statement. When talking about pricing for a cable company, value is the perception of their customers.
? So who is determining what the 'perception of value' is, you? I'm pretty sure if you took a survey, customers would say they are paying too much. Hmmm, that wasn't hard...

Cable-TV Customer Dissatisfaction - Consumer Reports

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In our exclusive new telecom service Ratings, consumers continued to express dissatisfaction with their TV and Internet providers, giving most poor reviews for value and overall satisfaction.


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The impact (or really, the lack of impact) of competition on pricing, where it exists, is one of the clearest indicators of what I have said. What we saw when FiOS and RCN came to portions of Burlington, after the introductory period, is prices going up, not down. RCN, generally speaking, ended up charging a few dollars less a month for much lower grade service. FiOS ended up charging significantly more for a much higher grade service.
And that is not head-to-head competition, as you point out, these were for different service levels. That does provide more choice, and as you also point out, that lowered the cost of service at the low tier. The fact that people were willing to pay more for a higher tier that was previously unavailable is a separate issue from head-to-head competition for the same products.

Check the cable company profits versus the S&P. It does not seem to support your case that they are selling their product below 'value'.

-ERD50
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Old 01-19-2016, 08:55 AM   #344
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? So who is determining what the 'perception of value' is, you? I'm pretty sure if you took a survey, customers would say they are paying too much. Hmmm, that wasn't hard...

Cable-TV Customer Dissatisfaction - Consumer Reports







And that is not head-to-head competition, as you point out, these were for different service levels. That does provide more choice, and as you also point out, that lowered the cost of service at the low tier. The fact that people were willing to pay more for a higher tier that was previously unavailable is a separate issue from head-to-head competition for the same products.

Check the cable company profits versus the S&P. It does not seem to support your case that they are selling their product below 'value'.

-ERD50

As far as my monthly budgeting goes, only healthcare costs since ACA was enacted has superseded my cable bill in terms of percentage increases, and vastly above inflation rate. This is despite me calling and jawing down rate each year, suppressing it an additional $20.
But I do understand part of yearly price increases is not their fault. Major carriers and sports channels demand increase in fees. Cable company fights back to contain cost. Channel goes off air in despute. Customers blame cable carrier and threaten to move. Cable caves, and pays the rate increase. Customer then complains about rate increase. So they do catch it "both ways".


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Old 01-19-2016, 08:58 AM   #345
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? So who is determining what the 'perception of value' is, you?
As I said before, when talking about pricing for a cable company, value is the perception of their customers. Individual variances from that don't matter much - what matters is the effective collective perception.

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I'm pretty sure if you took a survey, customers would say they are paying too much.
People are much more honest when they're spending their money than when they fill in surveys.

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Hmmm, that wasn't hard...
It isn't hard to convince ourselves that we're being screwed over, when we want to.

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Check the cable company profits versus the S&P.
Over the last three months, Comcast is down 11.77% while the S&P 500 is only down 6.56%. Over the last year, Comcast is down 5.11% and S&P 500 is down 6.89%, and keep in mind that a couple of dozen companies in the S&P 500 have dropped out of the listing because they were losing market capitalization so much more rapidly than other companies. The S&P 500, as all indices, are naturally less volatile that individual holdings - they fall slower and not as deep, in down markets, such as what we've had the last year. They'll also rise slower and not as high, the next time we have an up year. Seem like Comcast is tracking pretty close to value, or perhaps trailing, based on your insinuation that we should compare cable companies to the S&P 500.

Of course, your insinuation of a correlation in that regard is erroneous, but that's another matter:
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It does not seem to support your case that they are selling their product below 'value'.
Profits have nothing to do with value. That's why companies can go bankrupt even if people love what they offer. It isn't profits that correlate to value, but rather gross revenues.
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Old 01-19-2016, 10:34 AM   #346
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....I live in a heavily wooded area so I can't even use one of those TV antennas for basic TV ...
That is our situation as well. We use Dish, principally to get our local major network affiliates since we can't do OTA.

Our Dish bill is $102/month... $60 for the programming that we have, $35 for our equipment (centralized DVR serving 4 tvs) and $6 tax. For the first year of our 2 year contract, they credited us $25/month so the cost was $77.

We are on pause ($5/month) while we are away for the winter.

When we get back, I may downgrade our programming to their lowest-level Value Pack ($20/month for some basic channels, including our locals.. you have to call to get it since they do not advertise it) which would reduce our bill to ~$62/month... still more than what I would like but not bad for crystal clear locals, some popular cable channels and a central DVR for our four tvs.

Our two year contract expires in September after the pause so I'll need to make a decision on what to do then.
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Old 01-19-2016, 10:48 AM   #347
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I should have known that this would just go circular

A few quick comments and I'm out, nothing to learn here...


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... People are much more honest when they're spending their money than when they fill in surveys. ...
So I provide links/data, you provide (paraphrasing) 'but bUU said it, so it must be true'.


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Over the last three months, Comcast is down 11.77% while the S&P 500 is only down 6.56%.

....Profits have nothing to do with value. That's why companies can go bankrupt even if people love what they offer. It isn't profits that correlate to value, but rather gross revenues.


So I mention profits, and you go to short term stock price. Not really relevant to whether they are selling their product at below value or not. And if enough people love what a company offers, they should be able to raise the price, and return to profitability.

My point was, it would be tough to see decent profits if you sell your product below it's value. In general, competition will come in when products are priced high relative to value. Competition leaves a market where the customers don't value the product, and that lower competition may allow the remaining company(ies) to raise prices, or the market collapses to irrelevance (buggy whips).

But this is going nowhere, I will learn nothing, so I'm out.

-ERD50
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Old 01-19-2016, 10:50 AM   #348
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I should have known that this would just go circular
It isn't circular. You and I have different perspectives. You prefer to rely on your instinct and gut feel, while I prefer to look at consumer purchasing behaviors, to gauge what is and is not consumers' actual perspectives.

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I will learn nothing
If you say so; I can respect that. Peace.
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Old 01-19-2016, 10:58 AM   #349
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$89 gets us phone, 30G down/5G up internet, wifi, plus 200 channels and a settop box. If we want HBO that's $10 more. I have a Roku stick for the TV upstairs which streams everything including live tv from the $89 TWC package and we have amazon prime for the kindle books, free shipping, and movies is just a bonus but we use Redbox mostly since I get my new movies and theres always free coupon days. The plus of Roku and the blue ray boxes that have the HBO app is I get the full library vs. the on demand limited selection. I occasionaly buy movies on Vudu for my nieces/nephews as gifts and with the shared library I get to enjoy those too.
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Old 01-19-2016, 11:10 AM   #350
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That's another factor: As long as Internet usage isn't metered, it's like there's a hole in the hull of a boat. Once the hole is plugged, that'll eliminate some of today's artificial downward on pressure on prices.
Just a thought. If Internet usage is to be metered, it must be truly based on usage that goes in both directions, up and down. Current metering proposals I have seen have a floor (usually what people are currently paying) and then go up from there. When metering is talked about it is usually in regards to charging more if one is over the cap. I have never heard of a proposal to charge less is one does not use all the bytes up to the cap.

If one takes a 3 week vacation in June and monthly Internet usage plunges by 75% the floor keeps the monthly charge the same. OTOH, one's electrical usage at that time may go down by 60% that month (many devices still run when one is not home unlike Internet usage with completely stops in many cases) and the electric bill also goes down quite a bit.

In the end we need real free market competition to see what the true value of these services are. The current Monopoly or Duopoly systems were designed for another day and time that is long gone. I am 'lucky' in that I have two choices for home Internet service. Most people I know have one choice for Internet service - The Cable Company.
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Old 01-19-2016, 11:28 AM   #351
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Just a thought. If Internet usage is to be metered, it must be truly based on usage that goes in both directions, up and down. Current metering proposals I have seen have a floor (usually what people are currently paying) and then go up from there. When metering is talked about it is usually in regards to charging more if one is over the cap. I have never heard of a proposal to charge less is one does not use all the bytes up to the cap. If one takes a 3 week vacation in June and monthly Internet usage plunges by 75% the floor keeps the monthly charge the same. OTOH, one's electrical usage at that time may go down by60% that month (many devices still run when one is not home) and the bill also goes down quite a bit.
More precisely, you pay a set fee for electric service, and a variable amount for consumption. However, we have no way of knowing what a pricing model like that would look like, because we don't have enough information to know how much lighter users are subsidizing heavier users, today. One approach to estimating would be to split the difference. That would lead to me paying a $30 monthly Internet service fee, and a charge of $10 for every 50 GB block of data I use.

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In the end we need real free market competition to see what the true value of these services are.
Yet we don't need that to know what electricity should cost.

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The current Monopoly or Duopoly systems were designed for another day and time that is long gone. I am 'lucky' in that I have two choices for home Internet service. Most people I know have one choice for Internet service - The Cable Company.
There won't be dozens of ISPs stringing cable in your neighborhood. The best you can hope for is a splitting of the service horizontally, like electricity is split here in Georgia: The pipeline will be regulated, receiving a set percentage profit each year, and then you'll have to purchase service separately. I wouldn't be surprised that, when the time comes, the networks demur from getting involved in any direct marketing to consumers arrangement, so you'll still end up dealing with Comcast, Charter, AT&T and Verizon - you'll just be able to pick your poison in that regard, with the service provided by the one you choose and the pipeline provided by whichever serves your specific area.
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Old 01-19-2016, 12:25 PM   #352
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That would lead to me paying a $30 monthly Internet service fee, and a charge of $10 for every 50 GB block of data I use.
And if a person goes one GB over 50 GB, what would they pay under your plan for the additional bytes? If it's $10 for every 50 GB block, it sounds like they have to buy another block. We're back to a floor on the price. Use 51 GB a month pay $10 more. Use 5 GB total for the moth, pay the same as if you used 50GB. Not so good.

Yes, there would be a flat hookup charge of some sort.
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Old 01-19-2016, 12:26 PM   #353
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Comcast charges $10 for every 50 GB over the bandwidth cap. 301 GB = $10 upcharge. It's not my plan; it's their current actual price.

You'll never get nibble-based pricing. Usage will be sold in blocks. 50 GB is the current increment. Since usage will only go up over time, I cannot imagine why the size of blocks would ever decrease.
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Old 01-19-2016, 12:56 PM   #354
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$89 gets us phone, 30G down/5G up internet, wifi, plus 200 channels and a settop box. If we want HBO that's $10 more.
$89 including all fees? That's a good deal. Can't come close to that in my area.

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Comcast charges $10 for every 50 GB over the bandwidth cap. 301 GB = $10 upcharge. It's not my plan; it's their current actual price.

.
That's my plan with Comcast. And I don't come close to going over the cap. As of this moment, I've used 87 GB. Don't think I have ever used 200. Comcast gives you 3 courtesy overages. I'm certainly not here all day, but use the internet quite a bit. Someone would have to do a lot of streaming and surfing to go over the cap.
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Old 01-19-2016, 01:16 PM   #355
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Comcast charges $10 for every 50 GB over the bandwidth cap. 301 GB = $10 upcharge. It's not my plan; it's their current actual price.

You'll never get nibble-based pricing.
Is that because of technical issues?
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Old 01-19-2016, 01:37 PM   #356
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Is that because of technical issues?
I wonder what technical issues would limit that? I pay my electric and natural gas bills by 'the nibble', at least down to the kWh or cubic foot, IIRC (I'm on private well & septic, so no water/sewer charges to compare). Gasoline is metered by the fraction of a gallon, etc. And I can set my router and devices to monitor traffic in 'nibbles'.

Though I really have little/no idea where their costs break down in terms of fixed connection and the variable due to amount of traffic. They obviously need more equipment to handle higher data volumes, but that might be a small incremental to having some basic level of service - or maybe not.

My utility companies charge a monthly connection fee, even if I use zero of the product (which makes sense, IMO - that pays the infrastructure costs). I think that's typical, and many people aren't really aware of it unless they read the bill a little closer.

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Old 01-19-2016, 01:54 PM   #357
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Is that because of technical issues?
Since it is programmed that way, I suppose you could say it is.

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I wonder what technical issues would limit that? I pay my electric and natural gas bills by 'the nibble', at least down to the kWh or cubic foot
But not smaller than that. Again, there needs to be a minimal unit. Can they charge by GB? I bet there is a way to make that happen, but won't people complain about them not charging by MB? And if they charge by MB won't people complain that they're not charging by KB? And if they charge by KB won't people complain that they're not charging by byte? And if they charge by byte won't people complain that they're charging by byte rather than some more understandable unit like GB? Like I said, the line is drawn now at 50GB. The precedent is set. Short of regulating the business, there is no reason to sell blocks of data in smaller units, until customers make it more profitable to sell blocks of data in smaller units (similar to how a cell phone company used to make a big deal about charging by the 6 second interval rather than the minute - there's no evidence that that actually did them any good, though), or the nation decides to have government regulate the pricing, in which case why not regulate a marginal amount of profit and be done with the games?

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Though I really have little/no idea where their costs break down in terms of fixed connection and the variable due to amount of traffic.
Costs don't drive value pricing. Costs come into play in an environment where there is support for government regulated pricing, as the basis by which cost-plus-percentage is used to impose pricing on service providers.
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Old 01-19-2016, 02:23 PM   #358
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'Like I said, the line is drawn now at 50GB.
Actually, in my area one can just as certainly say the line is drawn now at unlimited usage.


FWIW, my cell phone company can track my usage down to the Kilobyte.
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Old 01-19-2016, 03:04 PM   #359
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Actually, in my area one can just as certainly say the line is drawn now at unlimited usage.
Except the question is in what denominations do they sell additional data. "Unlimited" isn't a denomination.
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Old 01-19-2016, 04:14 PM   #360
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Comcast charges $10 for every 50 GB over the bandwidth cap. 301 GB = $10 upcharge. It's not my plan; it's their current actual price.

You'll never get nibble-based pricing. Usage will be sold in blocks. 50 GB is the current increment. Since usage will only go up over time, I cannot imagine why the size of blocks would ever decrease.

I've gotten a little bogged down in this discussion and would like to understand this post. Did you mean to say "bandwidth"? My confusion might be that I think of that as a rate, rather than consumption/usage.
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