Hardy Telecommunications is reducing the programming surcharge charged to Hardy OneNet TV customers. Based on successful negotiations with existing networks and the loss of some channels who would not agree to reasonable increases, Hardy is able to roll back the amount that was added in 2021 to each programming tier. Starting January 1, 2022, the Silver tier will have its programming surcharge reduced by $2.25 per month; the Gold tier will have its programming surcharge reduced by $4.10 per month; and the Platinum tier will have its programming surcharge reduced by $4.15 per month.
Hardy also will be able to keep from adding any additional surcharge in 2022, even though Hardy is absorbing cost increases for most of its channel line-up for 2022.
“As a non-profit cooperative, we want to keep the cost of our services as low as possible while still maintaining a high level of quality and choice,” said Hardy General Manager Scott Sherman. “In this case, we recognized that we were forced to drop some channels whose owners did not respond with reasonable pricing during good-faith negotiations, and some channels were eliminated by their parent companies from all providers, like ESPN Classic and NBC Sports Network. We felt it was appropriate to reduce our surcharge even though other channels in our line-up increased prices.”
Scott credited Hardy Fiber-to-the-Home Coordinator Becky Kimble with getting the best deals for Hardy OneNet. Becky keeps track of OneNet network contracts and handles the negotiations for broadcast rights and pricing. She said the choice to drop some channels wasn’t easy, but it became necessary in order to keep the best possible OneNet channel line-up at a reasonable price.
“We had to make some difficult decisions, but after reviewing the viewership statistics we felt we made the best decisions for the majority of our membership. I am pleased that these decisions, while difficult, allow us to pass these savings along to our membership,” Becky said.
Hardy Assistant General Manager Derek Barr said the rise in popularity of streaming services has placed even more stress on traditional TV providers like Hardy.
“The business already is stacked against TV providers like us, because we are bound by federal regulations that make little sense, forcing us to carry channels that our viewers don’t want and have no local content because we are placed in the Washington, D.C., market. I’ll never understand how we can be prevented from carrying a West Virginia channel because it’s considered out-of-market,” Derek said. “Add to that the fact that networks now demand higher prices from traditional TV providers to fund their streaming services, all while taking quality programming away from traditional TV and putting it exclusively on their streaming platforms. That’s an ongoing struggle, but given that we did drop some channels whose owners had exorbitant price demands, we want to adjust the pricing to our customers.”
Derek said Hardy’s costs are continuing to rise each year, and that trend is not changing.
“At least there is some pricing relief for 2022, in that we are reducing the programming surcharge and maintaining that reduced amount for 2022,” he said. “We can’t say anything beyond that, but we do know our costs still are going up. We’ll keep working to secure the best possible pricing and services for our customers.”