How programming affects your cable bill!

Each year it seems like the cost of cable TV keeps going up. And it has. But most people don’t understand the true reason for this. The first and obvious thing everyone does is blame the Cable company. While logical, it’s really untrue.

Cost Breakdown

True, the Cable company needs to have their expenses covered for technicians, tech support people and equipment, and of course, to make some sort of profit for their efforts. But actually the total amount in your cable bill for these particular items has not changed in many, many years.

So what causes the increase?

Simply… it’s programming costs. Long Lines has to pay each network (or channel if you prefer) on our system a negotiated amount each month in order to distribute that programming to you. The amount paid to each network varies greatly depending on its popularity and viewership. 

We also have to pay the local stations a similar fee to retransmit their programming over our cable system. Sadly, these are the most expensive networks on the system. Why? Because the local stations deliver the major network signals (ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX) and their cost to produce their programs keeps going up. For example…the 5 major stars of CBS’s hit sitcom, Big Bang Theory were each paid $1 Million dollars per episode. Plus other cast member we’re paid roughly half that amount. Add in all the salaries of the producers, directors, writers, camera operators, and all the other people whose names you see running in the credits and the cost to produce a single show runs about $9 Million per show. This is just one show on one network. Multiply this by the number of shows, news programs, sports programs and other and the amount of money they need is astronomical.

Where do they get their money?

They sell lots of advertising during the program, but that’s not enough. They rest comes from you. And this is just one program example. They produce dozens of these type of shows. That’s why the networks lean on their local affiliates to change cable companies these extremely high amounts in order to pay for their shows. And because they have started to demand such exorbitant amounts that we’ve actually broken out the total cost of those channels and listed them as local retransmission fees.

The sad thing about this is that all your local station are required to broadcast their signal, free over-the-air. So even if you would cancel your cable subscription, you would still be able to see your local news-weather-sports and all their network programming absolutely free. But as a cable company we are required to pay these high rates for the right to “re-transmit” the programming to you.

Is there anything that Long Lines can do about this?

Well, we could simply drop the local stations from our lineup and reduce your cable bill by the amount of the retransmission fee you see on your bill. We don’t, because today, people demand convenience and simplicity. Being able to have your cable box/dvr handle all your channels is very nice. If the local stations were not included you would not be able to channel surf through all the programs. In order to view the local stations you would need to use your remote to switch your TV from the HDMI input to the external TV antenna input. Actually a simple process, but one that most people are unwilling to do.

Since dropping the stations is not a good option, we make every effort to negotiate the retransmission fees as low as possible. Everyone is aware when these negotiations take place because you see both sides running commercials complaining that the other side is the cause of the problem. So by splitting out the local retransmission costs for you to see (we can’t show individual station costs but can show the total group cost) you can judge for yourself who is causing difficulties. We negotiate very hard because we do not want to raise your Cable TV rates. We are simply the middleman and pass the increase along to you. We make absolutely no money on this type of increase. (for more information about this process visit

Programming Options

Long Lines Broadband strives to make programming packages that will meet your entertainment needs yet help your budget as best as we can. We have a broadcast starter package for those who simply want the local stations and a few select major cable networks to enjoy. If you are a sports fan, you can subscribe to the starter package and add the sports tier. That’s it. you don’t need to pay for all the other programming. Or you can just add the premium movie channels if you’re a movie buff. So by selecting the program packages that suit you best will help keep your costs to lowest possible.

As technology moves forward it might become possible to select just the stations that you want to watch and just pay for those networks. But that is not currently available. YouTube TV, Hulu TV, Sling TV and others have entered the market with different options that seem to allow for more individualized selection of channels, but the honeymoon is over and the networks are now leaning on these companies the same way they do Cable TV operators.

So until this new technology gets developed, Long Lines will continue to negotiate with all the networks to keep your entrainment costs as low as possible because we don’t want to raise your rates any more than you like seeing them raised. We profit nothing from them, but can’t absorb these costs and so they are passed along to you.