I got a letter in the mail today from Videotron saying that they’re upping the basic digital cable price by $1 a month (plus taxes) as of March 15. I wouldn’t have minded it so much (hey, times are tough, right?) if my bill hadn’t already gone up by $1 a month (plus taxes) when Videotron decided to cancel one of my channels and then charged me a new, higher rate when I changed my lineup (because it was a “new” service).
So why are they charging more now? Well, all the investments they’re making in infrastructure (that won’t affect me), including all those jobs they’re creating in Quebec.
And those investments have made a difference, after all (emphasis mine):
Customer surveys indicate that our customers’ satisfaction level remains high; indeeed we are in the top league of suppliers of cable TV products in Québec.
Well, if Videotron is one of Quebec’s top cable TV providers, then it must be good, right? And if customer surveys reveal high satisfaction, I’d be stupid if I wasn’t satisfied too. I mean, it’s not like Videotron has an absolute monopoly over digital cable TV in this area and is abusing that to suck as much money out of customers as possible, knowing full well that their only other option is another customer service nightmare with Bell’s satellite TV.
Taking a look at parent company Quebecor’s latest quarterly financial report (PDF), I see that Videotron made $579 million in profit in the first nine months of 2008. Mind you, most of that money was taken up by amortization and capital costs, which left a paltry $150 million of actual profit from Videotron’s 1.7 million customers (which works out to about $100 profit per subscriber over nine months).
So I can really see how that extra $1 a month is vital to the future operation of Videotron’s services.
UPDATE: Rogers is also raising its cable/internet rates. Coincidence?