Thursday, May 7, 2009

Gyms and Cable TV Thrive Despite Bad Economy

In a tough economy, many Houstonians are cutting back and they say cable TV and gym memberships are usually the first to go. But, surprisingly those companies are still reporting a rise in profits.

Marketing! Marketing! Marketing! That's what companies like 24 Hour Fitness and Comcast say are helping them not only retain their customers, but gain more during this recession.

"I'm actually watching and reviewing the pricing on my cable," said Rose Lopez. She is considering cutting some of her channels.

"We used to be members of the YMCA so we cut back on that," said Christina Matula. "I try to come out here, obviously it's free 27."

Matula is just one of many hitting public parks like the Memorial jogging trail to get a good free work out.

"The things that I found myself to be doing have been forgoing my gym membership to spending more time outside," said Kelly Crabb. "I'm not spray tanning anymore and just get some real sun. No Netflix, no cable."

And fearing this trend, companies are apparently offering better deals."I'm getting ready to switch because there are so many brochures of great introductory offers," said Albert Mare.

A Comcast spokesperson told channel 39, while its customers have been cutting out premium channels, most are keeping their service.

"We still have cable, we can't cut back on TV," said Christina Matula.

More popular now than ever, Comcast's economy bundle, which includes high speed Internet, home phone, and cable for less than $80.

Despite the recession, 24 Hour Fitness also says its memberships continue to rise every year.

The chain is drawing in more customers by offering better deals, zero initiation fees, and no penalty to cut your contract short if you lost your job.

Experts say customers have a lot more leverage now, so always negotiate.

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