Dish Network has already been losing customers every quarter, it recently paid a nine-figure settlement to settle a lawsuit about robocalls, is in the midst of the largest channel blackout of its kind in history, and is also facing questions about the long-term viability of its business model.
Even so, the company is raising prices in 2021, according to the Dish’s website.
Each of Dish’s main plans is increasing by $5, the company said. The “Welcome pack” will now cost $39.99, the “Flex Pack” $47.99, and the “Smart Pack” $45.99, with “America’s Top 120” jumping to $77.99, “America’s Top 120+” going to $82.99, and the “America’s Top 200” package reaching $92.99. The high-end “America’s Everything Pack” will now cost $127.99.
Why is Dish raising prices?
“At DISH, we continue to invest in your service and technology to make improvements and provide you with the best TV viewing experience at the best value,” the company said.
“However, the price that we pay for programming continues to rise. In fact, the fastest growing cost we and all other TV providers have is driven by the cost we pay the programmers. We will continue to work hard for fair deals with these programmers to keep channel costs and the price you pay as low as possible.”
“Due to these rising costs of programming, we will be increasing the cost of our package offerings beginning 1/14/21. We also will be removing receiver fees on equipment you’ve purchased and own, if any. If you own your equipment, you will see a new lower service fee for access on those TVs.”
The price increase is part of a widespread trend in subscription entertainment, whether from traditional cable and satellite companies, streaming services, or vMVPD services. For all of them, the price of programming is increasing, and that cost is being passed along to the customers. And while cord-cutting trends continue, driven in part by the rising cost of pay TV, the alternatives to cable and satellite are becoming more expensive, too.
Comcast and DirecTV have already announced that they, too, are raising prices at the start of the new year, and Netflix announced a price increase earlier this fall, which will go into effect for most customers in January. Even Disney, at their investor presentation last week in which they announced more than 100 new projects across the company’s platforms, slipped in the announcement that they’re increasing the price of Disney+ by $1 in 2021.
Sling TV, which is owned by Dish, has not announced a price increase, and in fact it promised last summer to freeze prices for a year, after YouTube TV and other rivals announced price hikes.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.