One common question is, "If these are the prices, how can they make the deals they do for the first six months or a year?" That's because of deals that are struck. When I worked with Charter, I discovered that the average station was a flat rate of 5¢ per channel for the first six months in cost to to them. This means that if they provided you 60 channels for $29.99 - their cost for the first six months was only $3. The next six months channel wholesale costs would move to half of their normal value. The second year, channels would cost similar to what you see below.
Via The Consumerist:
One thing this chart really shows is that "a la carte pricing" where the consumer pays only for channels they want would be a much better deal. For example, ESPN, which I don't watch, would allow me to get 20+ channels in it's place.