Comcast Gouging on TCM

by Tony Rutherford , HNN Entertainment Editor

This is why businesses die. 

Comcast has apparently moved the "basic channel" on most cable systems, Turner Classic Movies, which they  often rerun, to a newly created extra priced Sports Entertainment Tier, which TCM is the only non-Sports channel.

This comes after a box switch (defective) for me that despite company assurances wipes out a 200 hour DVD collection.

The Comcast forum states:

Thousands of Comcast subscribers don't want Turner Classic Movies switched to a Sports Package in October.  Does Comcast care at all about its customers?  Comcast is going to lose many clients over this.  Who wants to pay for a Sports Package which includes TCM?  And pay extra?  It just doesn't make sense.  PLEASE rescind this decision.  In what world does TCM belong on a sports package?

ALERT: Comcast Taking Away Channels Again


I wrote this a few days ago, but never posted it because I was afraid I was too upset and put it off.  However, now that I've seen others' opinions, I don't feel bad about giving Comcast a piece of my mind, again.  I even added a little.  So here it is.   I am writing this because I feel that other customers should know ahead of time and Comcast will likely not inform you until you find your favorite channel missing and ask why.  I was having problems with the website (which I have since found is a very common occurrence) and getting no response from TCM (also common).  The site was repeatedly saying it could not verify my tv provider subscription.  There's probably something wrong with the site and I didn't really believe Comcast would be able to help.  But, with no other solution, I called customer service.   During the call I spoke with two different agents.  They speculated on what could cause the problem with TCM and I just happened to find out from an agent in the "Customer Loyalty" dept. that, in October, TCM will be moved from the Digital Starter tier, where it is now, to the  Sports & Entertainment Pkg., which currently costs an additional $9.95/month.  When I asked about the contract and package I was "stuck" with, I was told that the contract gives Comcast the right to remove channels if they want to.  I apparently will still have to pay the same amount!   I explained to the agent that, of the over 200 channels included in my package, I actually watch only a handful and about half of those are broadcast stations that I could receive with an antenna.  I was very disappointed that they planned to remove TCM since I enjoy classic films.  I told the agent that I already paid enough for television and was not about to add another package.  This has happened before, like when they moved the Military History Channel to the Sports & Entertainment Pkg.  Is a documentary about WWII atrocities considered a sport or entertainment?  Stupid.     On the phone I said, "You guys move popular channels to a different package hoping that people will be willing to pay more for another group of channels just to get the ONE that they want, don't you?  You know I'm right."  The response from the other end of the line was dead SILENCE.  Meanwhile, they give us Streampix and more worthless channels that they claim cost money.  Has anyone ever actually watched anything on Streampix?  It's a waste of electrons.   I also told the agent that if Comcast continued to remove my favorite channels, I might disconnect the whole thing.  Right now they charge me over $50.00/month just in fees for one thing or another and there's no reason for me to continue paying for something if I never watch it.  Naturally, she said, "We don't want that to happen.  We want our customers to be happy with their service."  Sure, they say they want us to be happy, but they keep doing things that they know customers don't like.  Happy, my foot!  It's all about the almighty dollar.  The agent told me she would forward my feedback -- not that it will do any good.  If you want this to stop, tell Comcast.  Maybe if enough people complain, the corporate know-it-alls will get the message.   Regarding Comcast's explanation for moving TCM to another package:  I also do not believe their response.  How do they know what people across the country are watching?  I watch TCM almost every day.  It sure beats a lot of the garbage on the other networks.  Currently, the few good shows on tv are very good, but the bad ones are really bad.  And if they want to talk about costs, how about dumping some of the junk they've already given me lately, without asking, like Viceland, Afroentertainment, Motortrend, HITZ, more Spanish channels, children's channels, music channels, and other things I don't want or need?  Take away TLC -- nothing to "learn" there.  And I don't need six channels of Nickelodeon!   LET THE PEOPLE WHO WANT ALL THAT STUFF PAY FOR A SEPARATE PACKAGE!  More channels does not mean better.  I want to keep TCM.  Besides, I'm sure rates will increase anyway.  I also agree with a previous poster.  If I'm already paying for tv, why should I have to put up with so many annoying commercials?  Aren't entertainment executives rich enough?  The cost might not feel like such a rip-off if I could watch everything commercial-free.   I have friends and family who feel the same way.  They're fed up with the trash all over tv nowadays (reality shows & remakes) and the lack of quality programming.  They're tired of paying a fortune for stuff they don't watch.  They're sick of the technical glitches and outages, and looking for alternatives.  When you have hundreds of channels to choose from and can't find anything worth watching that you haven't seen multiple times, or a 2-hour movie is dragged out to 3 hours because a whole hour of commercials has been added, that's pretty sad.  I'd like to find a good antenna and streaming device . . . . or I might move to the country and just forget television altogether.




This and Cinemax shifted out in exchange for HITZ. 



Comcast has responded:

We regularly review our programming and sometimes make changes to ensure we're offering a wide variety of programming at the best value. We look at a variety of factors, including customer viewership and programming costs when making these decisions. Viewership of TCM is low, as over 90% of our customers watch less than two movies per month. Given this and contractual limitations on offering TCM a la carte, we decided to move TCM to the Sports Entertainment Package, which will help us manage programming costs that are passed on to our customers while continuing to make the channel available to those who want to watch it.

Except when clicking upgrade: