My cable bill and Videotron’s profits

My monthly bill to Videotron passed a milestone this month, crossing the $100 barrier and sitting at $100.38 for my Internet and digital cable.

In April 2008, the bill was $94.74 a month.

Nothing has changed in the amount of service I get. The increase of $5.64 a month is due entirely to Videotron’s price hikes:

I could understand this if Videotron’s costs were going up and it needed the extra money to stay afloat, but according to Quebecor’s financial statements, Videotron makes a shitload of money. Like, $800 million in profit off $1.8 billion in revenue. Not only are those numbers higher than any other unit of the megacorporation, but the profit margin is way, way higher than Quebecor’s newspaper or broadcasting divisions.

Even if you take amortization and capital costs out of the equation, that leaves $165 million of profit for Videotron, more than enough to cover interest payments on its $1.8 billion debt.

I’m not that great with quarterly statements, so my numbers might be off here. But Videotron is making a heck of a lot of money off me and other cable subscribers.

No wonder Canada is considered to have the most overpriced broadband Internet in the developed world.

14 thoughts on “My cable bill and Videotron’s profits

  1. Marc

    Ouch! What speed is your internet? I pay $29/month for my 5 Mbps DSL connection. And it’s been at that price for over 10 years, which means it’s actually been going down with repect to inflation. I’ve never been a fan of Videotron and their near-monopoly.

    Reply
  2. Jean Naimard

    Pay up and shut-up. Be very grateful that PKP will even consider selling you his wonderful cable “service”.

    Reply
  3. Caroline

    Don’t worry, bell is just as much as thief as Videotron is. This past week, I got 3 different letters announcing 3 different price hikes ( I think they really just wanted to rub it in! Couldn’t they just have sent just 1 letter and saved 54 cents on stamps and pass me these savings? arghhhh)

    And it’s not like we’ll ever have any other alternative (maybe if we ever get Rogers tv, but let’s not dream too much, shall we) so as they say…

    …suck it up =(

    Reply
  4. Richard

    I use Teksavvy (http://teksavvy.com); I switched from Bell a few months ago, and it’s all good. They don’t even charge QST/TVQ, so I even save a bit every month!

    But, I don’t have cable and I have only basic phone options, so your mileage may vary if you get a package deal at videotron or bell.

    Reply
  5. Maria Gatti

    Have you tried Cooptel?

    I don’t have cable or any fancy phone stuff either. TV (given by mum, moving into a smaller place) almost never plugged in.

    Reply
  6. JF

    I had the same videotron package as you but recently I switched to 15 channels instead of 20. This was not available when I first subscribe. Lowered my monthly bill a bit but I still find it expensive at around 90$.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      I actually have the anglo package plus 20 extra channels, which gives me quite a bit more. I don’t mind paying a bit for the extra channels, but I’m running out of new ones to try to replace the crap I’m seeing now.

      Reply
  7. Bickerbros

    Don’t despair, fellow Videotroners! The key is to call them up during regular weekday business hours (I’m sure this works with Bell too) once you get the annual we’re-raising-your-bill-because-we-can letter. Politely tell the CSR that you’re sick of the non-stop fee hikes, you’ve been a loyal customer for X years, etc. and threaten to cancel and move to Bell (or vice versa). The key is getting transferred to their Loyalty+Retentions department (français: département de la fidelité). It costs a company far less to keep a new customer than to go out and get a new one. Once transferred to L&R, you’ll actually be treated as a valued customer! Politely explain your situation (mentioning Bell’s competing current offer) and you’ll probably be offered a pretty good deal to remain a loyal customer (at least until next year’s hike). I finally started calling them up last year, after helplessly watching my bill inch high and higher every year. Since then, I’ve managed to shave almost $200 a year off my bill, which includes home phone, high-speed internet, and TV.

    Reply
  8. Douglas

    Basic digital for $14.99 a month? Not bad. Here in Vancouver, Shaw’s digital basic is $33.95 (plus $2.95 if you rent the digital box.) For analog basic, it’s still the same price. High speed cable internet is $33.00 when bundled with cable TV. For the fuller TV lineups with internet, the prices easily go beyond $100. That’s my two cents!

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      It’s $14.99, but you’re forced to choose a package (anglo, franco, bilingual or a la carte) to go with it, so the price is closer to $30 for the cheapest service.

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    2. DigitalAnger

      Basic Digital does not give you any real channels. Only advertising channels. Videotron Advertising channels. Its a scam. A complete and total $15 cash grab.

      Reply
  9. Canada is Canada

    Okay, Videotron is expensive, so are all the other options in Canada. If you bundle you save. Pay more for one service and less for another, that is just how it works.

    However in terms of service, i have used videotron for twenty years, they never have MISTAKEN charges like bell, never lose reception like satellite providers and unlike most other providers they offer exceptional customer service and easy to use service, their quattro package is cheap no matter how you look at it.

    Quick Run Down:

    CELL PHONE:
    Videotron: bundles as low as 33 a month unlimited Montreal with two services, 125 tests and 50MB data.
    Bell: Released competting package as low as $50 with three services or $60 without, no data and no messages

    HOME PHONE:
    Videotron hand down even with 1000 minutes of Long Distance, more than enough runs about 35 a month.
    Bell: the same options with bell run about $75

    Internet:
    Videotron: They are pricier at $55 for for 15MB connection
    Bell: for comparable service you pay $45 for 16MB connection and for $55 you get 25MB download speed, pretty fast.

    CABLE TELEVISION:
    Videotron: Okay, they have less channels for the same money, however, they offer a much better on demand service accessible via cable box or internet than bell.
    Bell: offers the most channels at the best price. For $100 you can get all the BASIC, Best channel package and two movie networks as well as east west on many channels no available on videotron.

    Overall, they both offer great bundles depending what you want. If you want a simple t.v package, internet for email and small tasks, and the lowest cell phone and home phone rates, videtron easily wins, if you want the BEST for the best value bell for internet and tv and videotron for home phone and cell phone.

    Good luck.

    Reply
  10. Sacha E

    I just got a letter from Videotron stating that they are going to increase my rate by $1/month. Is this legal when I’m in a contract with them?? I can’t see why they would be allowed to change the terms of the agreement which I am forced to live with as if I do cancel, I’ll be forced to pay a penalty. I know there’s a probably a cause in the agreement saying they can increase the price to whatever they want but from what I remember in my law course at university, these clauses are often no enforceable…Any lawyers here that can shed some light on this? Thanks!

    Reply

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