Some Subscription Program Prices Come Down -- But Trend Might Not Spread

One of DirecTV’s most profitable program packages -- its nearly decade-old “NFL Sunday Ticket” -- is getting a big price reduction. The NFL said it decided to “dramatically lower the price” by some 40% to $199.95, in order to give more fans access to all its games.

At a time when prices for most program packages seem to be climbing, this sounds like good news.

The price reduction will ratchet up DirecTV’s efforts for “NFL Sunday Ticket.” A year ago, it signed up 1.1 million users for the package, compared with 300,000 in 2010.

The NFL overall has been the highest-rated programming on TV for years.  This season, NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” looks to beat “American Idol” for the crown in 18-49 viewers, At the same time, the NFL is adding more Thursday night games on its NFL Network.

From an overall marketing position, all this results in more brand awareness for the league going into next season. DirecTV and the NFL hope to reap more overall dollars by adding more consumers.



With most TV content, producers and network executives would tell you that each program should get more money from advertisers as well as consumers – and that this can be achieved through digital sites and the like.

Netflix may be doing well for a network like CW but not everyone is thinking yet about giving content to Hulu (though, to consumers, Hulu Plus looks a lot like Netflix).

TV content owners are still struggling with where to place their programming. Somewhat out of favor are free, advertising-supported services like Hulu. But Netflix and Hulu Plus have seemed to be gaining traction with their $8 or so monthly SVOD (subscription video on demand) plans.

In part, that is what NFL Sunday Ticket is doing: providing a subscription plan for a specific TV program. For many, this is what a true VOD model should be. What if there was a $50 or $75 package for the upcoming full-year season of ABC’s “Modern Family” – with limited commercials? This type of TV model may be worthwhile for some.

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