NEW YORK Dec 27 Satellite television provider
DirecTV Group said its service fees will rise by an
average of 4.5 percent in February due to increasing programming
DirecTV has to pay about 8 percent more for programs, since
almost all of its providers are hiking their rates, it said on
The company, which recently resolved a bitter price dispute
with programmer Viacom Inc, said it is doing all it can
to make sure customers "do not suffer unfair price increases as
a result of unreasonable demands."
The new fees will go into effect on Feb. 7.
DirecTV said it has managed to keep its annual price
increases below those of its cable rivals on average.
Tensions between program makers and distributors are on the
rise and leading to some higher prices as the industry's growth
appears to have peaked.
DirecTV said in November that customer defections increased
as a result of its July dispute with Viacom, which involved a
blackout of channels such as Nickelodeon and MTV for 9 days.
The loss of 26 networks to 20 million homes for nine full
days was unprecedented in the U.S. pay-TV industry in terms of
the size, length and scope of the blackout.
DirecTV's rivals include satellite service Dish Network Corp
and cable providers Comcast Corp, Time Warner
Cable Inc and Cablevision Systems, as well as
telephone companies AT&T Inc and Verizon Communications
DirecTV shares closed up 11 cents at $49.71 on Nasdaq.