Posted December 8, 2015

Customers frequently ask about television channels and pricing structures – how they are built, why a la carte channel options are not available, and the underlying reasons behind rate increases. We would like to address and answer some of the most commonly asked questions.

Why do I have to pay for channels I never watch?
Pioneer Communications is required by contract to carry both the most popular and least popular cable networks. In turn, if we ask for a price for just the most popular networks, a common response from channel owners is to raise their price. This effectively eliminates this option from consideration. Here’s a hypothetical scenario to help illustrate the situation: Imagine that, under its current contract, a certain programming channel owner is receiving a total of $4.00 per customer per month for three channels. Only one of those three channels is a popular station. In negotiating a new contract, the channel owner now wants $6.00 per month per customer for the same three channels. When asked what the price would be for just the one highly rated channel, the owner responds that it will be $6.50. In other words, the channel owner demands $6.00 for three channels (a 50% increase over its current fees) or $6.50 for one channel (a 62.5% increase). That leaves Pioneer Communications with little option but to seek a lower rate for all three channels, two of which you may never watch, or remove those channels altogether from their lineup and risk subscriber losses.

Why do programming channel owners occasionally take their channels away from TV providers?
This is an unfortunate tactic that channel owners use to gain leverage in their negotiations. What’s more, before and after they remove channels, they may ask you to call and/or email Pioneer Communications in an attempt to put pressure on the provider to cave in to the channel owners’ excessive fee increases.

Why has the programming changed on my favorite channel?
Your Cable TV provider does not have any influence or responsibility as to what programming is broadcast on any particular channel. It is the channel owner who determines what content they air. Pioneer Communications acts as a gateway where the channel signal is received from the channel owners and then rebroadcast to customers.

Why should I pay for sports channels I don’t watch?
Community and sports are so intertwined that we sometimes forget that they are big businesses. And when it comes to TV rights, teams want to make everyone pay – or no one gets to watch their games. We are often forced to carry sports networks on our basic package, which reaches the most customers, or we are not allowed to carry it at all. For many Cable TV providers, sports networks account for up to 75% of all network fees, yet they are only a small percentage of the total channels offered. So the next time you see a record break sports contract, you are the one paying for it.

Why must cable providers pay for “Free” Broadcast TV?
Pioneer Communications is required to carry your local broadcast TV stations (KUPK, KWCH, KSNG, KSAS, etc.). It’s the law, and Pioneer must first obtain each station’s permission before they can carry them on their cable systems. However, stations only grant permission when Pioneer agrees to pay the stations whatever fee they demand. This means that YOU pay for the same station that they broadcast free over the air when you get broadcast TV via cable. We don’t think this is fair, and work to keep these costs in check.
So you see, when you get upset with Pioneer Communications because you think the rate is too high… you should be upset with the channels you watch for charging so much.