Santa Ana : Group W to Raise Fees on Premium Channels

Group W Cable will raise its service rates for all premium channels by at least $2 beginning next month, Thomas Murray, the firm's general manager, said Friday.

The price for most individually purchased premium channels, such as HBO, Showtime, the Movie Channel, the Disney Channel, Cinemax, Z Channel, Galavision and HTN, will increase from $7.50 per month to $9.50. The cost for Bravo will jump from $5.95 to $9.50.

Murray also announced a new "open package plan" permitting subscribers to choose the number of premium channels they wish to receive. In the past, closed package plans have had limited selections.

Murray explained the increase to city officials Thursday, a day before it was announced to the news media. Laurie Cottrell, Santa Ana's director of marketing and communications, called the increase "not unreasonable" but predicted it would not be received favorably by cable television subscribers.

"We recognize that Group W needs to take measures to recover from the unrealistic contract it entered into two to three years ago," Cottrell said. "We expected an increase, and although we don't think it's unreasonable, it may prove to be unpopular."

Group W officials noted that the increase applies only to premium channels, not basic service.

"The average Orange County resident with basic (service) and one premium service will pay approximately 40% more than a Santa Ana resident with the same service," Murray said.

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