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Do you know how much you pay a month for ESPN? USA Network? Animal Planet? Most people don’t, whether as a result of indifference or just because the information is not that readily available.

According to HowCableShouldBe, cable companies pay Big Media the following amounts every month for the right to carry their channels:

Network Cost Big Media Owner
ESPN $3.80/mo. Disney
Fox Sports $2.25/mo. News Corp.
Nickelodeon $1.40/mo. Viacom
ESPN2 $1.05/mo. Disney
TNT $1.00/mo. Time-Warner
Sci-Fi $1.00/mo. NBC-Universal
CNN $1.00/mo. Time-Warner
Disney $0.95/mo. Disney
CNBC $0.90/mo. NBC-Universal
Bravo $0.85/mo. NBC-Universal
USA $0.85/mo. NBC-Universal
MTV $0.80/mo. Viacom
AMC $0.75/mo. Rainbow Media
Fox News $0.75/mo. News Corp.
FX $0.75/mo. News Corp.
ABC Family $0.75/mo. Disney
MSNBC $0.70/mo. NBC-Universal
TV Land $0.70/mo. Viacom
Discovery $0.70/mo. Discovery
NFL $0.70/mo. NFL
Cartoon Net $0.70/mo. Time-Warner
Animal Planet $0.65/mo. Discovery
History Channel $0.60/mo. A&E with NBC & Disney
TLC $0.60/mo. Discovery
Travel $0.60/mo. Discovery
BET $0.60/mo. Viacom
SPIKE $0.60/mo. Viacom
Comedy Cent $0.60/mo. Viacom
HGTV $0.50/mo. EW Scripps
E! $0.50/mo. Comcast/Disney
TBS $0.45/mo. Time-Warner
VH1 $0.40/mo. Viacom
Oxygen $0.40/mo. Oxygen
Weather $0.40/mo. Landmark Comm.
Lifetime $0.40/mo. Lifetime/Hearst/Disney
A&E $0.40/mo. A&E with NBC and Disney
Food Net $0.40/mo. EW Scripps
Hallmark $0.35/mo. Crown Media
Court TV $0.35/mo. Time-Warner
CMT $0.15/mo. Viacom

Big Media has gotten very concentrated in the hands of a few corporations. The twenty networks with the highest programming fees are concentrated in the hands of just six media companies. In combination with the cable company’s monopolies, we’ve ended up with an entrenched media-industrial complex that is similar to how the Japanese Keiretsu operated during the post-world war II period. Ten or so large corporations, each of which own varying interests in content production, marketing and distribution.

Related Reading:
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  • Media Consumption in the Internet Age
  • Lessons Learned from the 1996 Telecom Act
  • Tying and Bundling Raises Cable Prices
  • Cable Television: Cost per Channel
  • Would “A La Carte Cable” Reduce Cable Television Costs?
  • Net Neutrality: FAQ