Saturday, 13 April 2024

Local cable subscribers can expect changes to service starting soon

LAKE COUNTY – Subscribers to Mediacom's 22-channel basic service will get a lower-priced spread starting Monday, Jan. 4.


Lake County Mediacom system manager Shawn Swatosh said this week that the changes are designed to open up more channels for high-definition in the more expensive packages such as Family Cable, which carries 70 channels. He said two new HD channels were added Monday, for a total of 40.


Subscribers have been notified of the new channel lineup by mail.


Basic subscribers will lose Fit TV on Channel 21 to Shop NBC and ABC Family on 16 to the TBN religion channel. The QVC shopping channel on 18 will move to channel 14 and be replaced by the Home Shopping Network. KOVR, the CBS affiliate in Sacramento, will move from 14 to 13, previously a blank channel which once was a guide listing programs.


Swatosh said the changes are partly motivated by economics. “Fit TV kept raising their rates.” The shopping channels cost the cable provider nothing.


An Associated Press story published Tuesday in the Sacramento Bee said the entire “free TV” industry is in flux, with networks and local stations demanding higher fees from the cable systems for the right to broadcast their stations. They also face increased competition as cable channels proliferate. Some viewers turn to watching favorite shows on their computers at convenient times.


Rupert Murdoch, whose News Corp. owns Fox, reportedly told a shareholder meeting this fall that Fox "can no longer be supported solely by advertising revenues."


Swatosh said that as of Tuesday afternoon he had heard of no cancellations because of the new channel changes. He said there were several cancellations when the guide channel was eliminated.


Mediacom's franchise agreements with Lake County and with the city of Lakeport now are statewide franchises while the city of Clearlake has a franchise running until 2013. The statewide franchises were instituted in 2007 by the California legislature and require that the franchise holder pay 5 percent of its annual gross to the state, with the state expected to pass part of that back to cities and counties.


Jeff Rein, who oversees the franchise in the county's administration office, said he hasn't yet heard from the state about what amount the county can expect; the last annual check from Mediacom was for $280,000 in January, 2008.


E-mail Sophie Annan Jensen at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

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