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Updating the name of the television services series in the CPI

Fine-tuning the data to improve the picture quality

FRED aggregates data from various sources. Those sources routinely revise and update the data they produce. After all, more-accurate data allow for better decisionmaking. These sources also update the names of their data series to accurately describe the activity they record. FRED incorporates these updates with an automated process.

One source, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, provides the consumer price index (CPI) dataset, which measures the average change over time in the prices paid by urban consumers. The FRED graph above displays one CPI data series that had its name changed as of February 14, 2023: from “Cable and satellite television service” to “Cable, satellite, and live streaming television service.”

This update to the series name reflects the addition of customizable internet-based live streaming of television services, which had been commonly provided via land cable and satellite wireless signals.

So what does this FRED graph show? The time period is January 1992 to December 2022, the units are percent change from a year ago, and the values are the year-over-year inflation rate of television service prices. These prices had some cyclical ups and downs but were trending downward until 2011, when that declining trend reversed. In fact, price growth for television services has markedly outpaced total price growth for its parent category, recreation services.

Stay tuned to the FRED Blog for more news of updates to additional data series names.

How this graph was created: Search FRED for “Cable, satellite, and live streaming television service.” Next, click the “Edit Graph” button, select the “Line 1” tab, and use the “Units” dropdown menu to select “Percent Change from Year Ago.” Last, select the “Format” tab to change the graph type to “Bar.”

Suggested by Diego Mendez-Carbajo.

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