Commentary

The 'Sub' Plot

Dear Comcast Subscriber:

As you know, we have been working exceptionally hard to upgrade our infrastructure in order to assure that you have the finest cable service possible. In recent months we have converted our system to all digital so that now you can see that even with 256 channels, there is still not much worth watching. But at least you'll have clearer reception as you languidly surf up and down the channel line up.

With all this fiber optic capacity, we are adding new channels so we can justify the price increases that this happy note is designed to soften. We know you couldn't care less about the Pet Channel, The Southern Fried Foods Channel and The Step Aerobics Channel, but it allows us to tell regulators that our programming costs are increasing and that is it only fair we pass these costs along to you.

By the way, you probably heard that we are going to pony up about $50 billion to buy Disney. Then we have to pay Eisner $123 million to go away. Then we have to pay our investment bankers, lawyers and various other middlemen, so at the end of the day we'll need you to step up and help out. We figure your share to be about $262. So, starting with your next already indecipherable statement you'll see a new $2 a month line item "Help Buy Mickey." It will remain there for 131 months.

One of the reasons we are buying Disney (other than to get free rides on Space Mountain without having to wait in those long, hot lines) is because they have lots of "content" that we are going to start adding to our service. (And yes, we'll charge more for that too.).

Here is a look at our new tiered programming package structure.

BASIC Plan: $45 per month includes: The Disneyland Channel, The Disney World Channel, The Euro-Disneyland Channel, the Tokyo Disneyland Channel, The Disney Cruise Channel, The Roberts Family Channel, Miramax and Disney pay-per-view movies.

FAMILY Plan: $75 per month includes: Basic plus: ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, The Golf Channel, Outdoor Life Network, Disney Channel, Toon Disney, E! Entertainment, ABC Family, Style, the Pet Channel, The Southern Fried Foods Channel, and The Step Aerobics Channel.

Lonely HouseWife Plan: $100 per month includes: Family plus: CBS, NBC, PBS, and all that other stuff that your wife likes: chick flicks; cooking-with-some-Latin-looking-guy-who-acts-gay-but-I'll-bet-isn't; nonstop soap operas; has-been stars hosting talk shows about why guys can't express their pain; old Fernando Lamas and Hugh Grant movies; The Queen Elizabeth Channel; Local Access High School Channel.

Testosterone Plan: $150 per month includes LHW plus: Porn per view; The Steve Bochco Channel; The Gory Old War Footage Channel; The Victoria's Secret Channel; The Violent Crime Channel; The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Channel; The Locker-Room Cam Channel; 312 regional sports channels and pay per view movies that all feature full frontal nudity, something blowing up and high body counts.

The Teen Plan: $175 per month includes Basic and 53 channels of incredibly loud, annoying, tasteless music videos that appeal to teenage prurient interests and prove that civilization as we know it will end with the baby-boomer generation's demise.

Other Services:

OnLine All the Time High Speed Internet Service: $45 per month; or OnLine All the Time High Speed Internet Service without the pops up, Viagra e mail, grainy video commercials, and 26 virus and spyware dowloads a day: $350 a month.

Video-on-Demand; Have a yearn' to visit Mayberry at 3 am to accompany that dozen jelly doughnuts you are about to consumer? Want to hear some Moody Blues to take the edge off that Orange Sunshine? Can't live another MINUTE without Lizzie McGuire? Check out VOD before we figure out how to start charging for it.

Extra charges for each cable box, each clicker, each Wi-Fi connection we can detect, service calls - you must be home between 6 am and 6 pm, and knowledgeable help desk people with names like Fakir and Phouri. Rates subject to change (in only one direction, and sooner than you think).

Sincerely,

Bry

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