Season's Greetings From Viacom To Time Warner: S'ain't Nick, Or Comedy, MTV Either

Viacom may kick the New Year off in a dramatic way for the subscribers of Time Warner Cable - by kicking popular networks such as Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and MTV off the cable operator's lineup. Likening Time Warner Cable to a company "overreaching for profit at the expense of its viewers," Viacom late Tuesday issued a statement asserting it would pull its networks from Time Warner households effective 12:01 on Jan. 1st if the cable operator doesn't pay Viacom the subscriber fee increases it is demanding. Happy New Year!

"The renewal we are seeking is reasonable and modest relative to the profits [Time Warner Cable] enjoys from our networks," Viacom stated, adding that the fee increases amount to less than 25 cents per month, per subscriber, or, "less than a penny a day" for all 19 of the MTV Network channels carried by Time Warner Cable.

Viacom, which has been rocked hard by the downturn in the economy, said it is demanding the subscriber fee increases because it believes its channels had been "greatly undervalued" for some time, based on their popularity among cable viewers.

"Americans spend more than 20% of their TV viewing time watching our networks, yet our fees amount to less than 2.5% of what Time Warner generates from their average customer," Viacom asserted, adding that it has successfully re-negotiated "equitable" license agreement renewals with other carriers, or is in the final stages of such renewals with "virtually every cable and satellite carrier" in the U.S.

If Time Warner Cable calls Viacom's bluff, it will mean some of basic cable's most popular shows - including kids series like "SpongeBob SquarePants," and hip, young adult series such as "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report" - will go dark on Time Warner Cable systems nationwide, despite the fact that Time Warner Cable is simultaneously seeking monthly fee increases of as much as $3 per subscriber in some of its biggest markets.

2 comments about "Season's Greetings From Viacom To Time Warner: S'ain't Nick, Or Comedy, MTV Either".
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  1. S.e. Olson from Why We Watch, December 31, 2008 at 9:52 a.m.

    The public is not at all cool with this...it looks like two greedy companies run by a few lazy and/or incompetent executives (not to mention how grossly overpaid they are) who yet again can't negotiate their way out of a paper bag (first the WGA, then SAG and now each other) and are going to make the viewers and fans pay (this time literally, in the form of cable rate increases) for their stupidity.

    Even people like myself who don't rely upon Time Warner Cable for their Viacom TV programming are calling upon *both* Viacom & TWC to settle this now or suffer the public fallout.

    Really dumb move by the powers that be at both companies...

  2. Michael O'faolain from Redwood Guardian - The Lost Scripts, December 31, 2008 at 9:37 p.m.

    Time Warner Cable's refusal to even consider Viacom's proposed 25%± increase in carriage fees is an action deserving of commendation and a medal. If Viacom wants to demonstrate how much these channels are worth, unpackage them, set a price for each, have TWC add on it’s costs and a modest profit, and agree to an optional carry contract based upon some drop number like less than 10% of cable customers in a service area. Give the same contract to all carriers, cable and satellite. We’ll see if anything but Nick, MTV, and Comedy Central can survive. (And maybe not all of those.)

    Most certainly the time has come to let me subscribe to Comedy Central and dump the rest of those. If I really want to watch Spongebob, I’ll go to the Nick web site.

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