Next Up on Cable TV, Higher Bill for Consumers

By Andrew Gauthier 

The New York Times

The performances on “American Idol” may be erratic and the plot twists on “Lost” may be unpredictable, but one facet of television is certain: the costs just keep going up.

On New Year’s Day, the News Corporation, the media empire controlled by Rupert Murdoch, wrangled new payments from Time Warner Cable, including subscriber fees for the Fox Broadcasting network, which is free for viewers with over-the-air antennas.

The high-stakes deal reflected the scramble by media companies to reduce their dependence on advertising.

Something else also happened that day: Time Warner Cable put another rate increase into effect.

It will not be the last time. Along with Fox, other broadcasters say they deserve a share of the cable and satellite bills that roughly 100 million American households pay each month. At the same time, the cable-only channels that have lured viewers away from broadcast, with shows like “SpongeBob SquarePants” and “The Closer,” are lining up for further fee increases. More…