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Comcast moves Cartoon Network to more-expensive digital package

The cable company cited rising programming costs as a reason for the move.

The cable company cited rising programming costs as a reason for the move.

A picture of the Comcast logo on the front facade of a retail building.
The Comcast logo is seen on a retail store in Sacramento, California on July 3, 2015. (Photo: Matthew Keys/Graphic: The Desk)

Comcast is moving the Cartoon Network from its Digital Economy and Digital Starter pay TV packages to the more-expensive Digital Preferred package.

The change starts today across most of Comcast’s pay TV service markets, the company affirmed.

Comcast cited an increase in programming costs as the main reason for the move, and said the shift is designed to continue offering the channel to those who value it while avoiding cost hikes for other customers.

“Our goal is to always deliver the shows and movies our customers love to watch at the best value possible,” the company said in a note sent to customers this month.

The move also affects Adult Swim, an adult-oriented animation and comedy programming block that shares time with the Cartoon Network. Both the Cartoon Network and Adult Swim are owned by WarnerMedia, a division of AT&T.

Customers who want to continue enjoying the Cartoon Network and Adult Swim are being offered the chance to upgrade to Digital Preferred for an extra $10 a month. The package also offers a handful of other children’s and family-focused channels, including NickToons, Nick Jr. and Disney XD, where available.

Comcast says many of its customers can continue to enjoy free cartoons, shows and movies like those found on the Cartoon Network by viewing the pay TV’s vast on-demand content library, which can be accessed from most set-top boxes or through the X1 platform with Comcast’s voice remote.

Other Comcast customers can consider switching away from the traditional pay TV package and choose a streaming service to access the Cartoon Network and Adult Swim, likely at a price far less than what Comcast charges. Dish Network’s streaming service Sling TV offers the Cartoon Network and Adult Swim in its Sling Blue package, which also includes access to Fox and NBC-programmed channels for $35 a month (channels offered by Disney can be added for an extra $15 a month, bringing the total cost to $50 a month).

The decision to move the Cartoon Network and Adult Swim into a higher programming package comes less than two years after Comcast took the same measure with Turner Classic Movies, a channel also distributed by AT&T’s WarnerMedia. In that case, Comcast moved the channel from its regular cable lineup to an à la carte sports programming package.

In both cases, Comcast said it would not replace the moved channels with similar ones to offset a loss in programming for its subscribers.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).