A Lifetime Cable Contract?

Some Pay for a TV Service That They Didn’t Choose

With new subscribers harder for companies to find, more consumers like Mr. Teitelbaum are being locked into compulsory plans. Among the hottest battlegrounds now for customers in the pay television market are planned communities sprouting up across the Sun Belt and apartments and other multi-unit housing blocks in big cities – basically any development where a homeowners’ association or management company charges residents for property upkeep, security and the like.

Cable and satellite providers, of course, love striking these bulk subscriber deals because with one contract they can capture hundreds and sometimes thousands of customers who generate a steady stream of fees for years.

Developers, condo boards and property associations like the deals, too, because they need to work with only one television provider and because the deals can offer homeowners significant discounts for their cable service.

And, on a personal note, I guess I have to choose which of the two categories I fit in here — says something about the industry that visceral hatred doesn’t seem to be on the radar:

“Everyone who is going to pay for TV already pays for it,” said Todd Mitchell, an industry analyst at Kaufman Brothers Equity Research. “The only people without it are Luddites and people too old to appreciate it.”