Washington D.C. - Cable prices reflect a variety of cost factors that have increasingly made cable a better product and consumer value. These factors include the increased cost of labor to deliver and support services, the rising cost of providing quality programming, significant capital investment in technology to provide new cable services, and interest to service this investment. The increased value that cable is delivering is evidenced by the fact that more and more consumers are watching basic cable channels than ever before, and that millions of consumers have opted to buy digital cable, high-speed data and cable phone services.

ESPN’s economic study oversimplifies the economics of cable TV. Delivery of popular channels such as ESPN depends upon infrastructure, personnel and programming investment. But when sports programming fees have increased significantly year-to-year due to soaring player salaries and TV rights, it’s impossible to ignore these costs as a contributing factor in cable price increases.

Contractual issues regarding the carriage of sports programming should be resolved in private negotiations between network owners and cable operators, not in the media. Because of the complexity of the market forces involved, there is not a simple “one size fits all solution” to carriage arrangements nor one that lends itself to government intervention. Therefore, it is all the more incumbent upon sports programmers and cable operators alike to work harder together to find creative business solutions to meet the needs of consumers as well as their shareholders.

NCTA is the principal trade association of the cable television industry in the United States. NCTA represents cable operators serving more than 90 percent of the nation's cable television households and more than 200 cable program networks, as well as equipment suppliers and providers of other services to the cable industry.