The long-awaited Sci-Fi Channel will arrive for Jones Intercable customers in February, along with five other new channels, and of course, a rate increase.
Jones Intercable will increase its limited-basic and basic-plus cable rates about 7.5 percent when it launches its six new channels Feb. 1. Limited-basic monthly rates will increase from $9.95 to $10.70, and basic-plus rates will increase from $25.73 to $27.68.
The rate increase is not a direct result of the new channels, said general manager Ben Blackmon. The company increased rates for several reasons, including increased programming costs, increased staff and equipment upgrades.
The timing is meant to cushion the effect of the increase, he said.
"If we do have to take an increase, we always try to add new channels at the same time," Mr. Blackmon said.
The new channels are:
Some pay-per-view channels will move around to make the additions fit. The company is mailing customers details of the changes, and that letter should arrive by Tuesday.
Jones Intercable used a summer telephone survey and a fall mail survey to help select new channels.
The decision to add the Sci-Fi Channel was driven by the surveys, even though studies show its viewership often drops heavily in the year after it has been introduced.
"From a business point of view, that might not have been the channel we chose, but people wanted it," Mr. Blackmon said.
Other new channels address general themes in the survey, such as requests for more educational or family programming.
"Maybe they didn't say `History Channel,' but they said they wanted educational television in their home," he said.