Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Time Warner And Bright House Cable Dropping 18 Viacom Channels

Disputes between Time Warner, Bright House cable and Viacom over carriage fee hikes could mean that Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central and about 15 other channels will go dark on Time Warner Cable Inc. at 12:01 a.m. Thursday if a new carriage fee deal is not agreed upon by then.

Viacom has asked for fee increases of between 22 percent and 36 percent per channel, an amount that could increase customers' cable bills, Dudley said. Viacom spokeswoman Kelly McAndrew said the requested increase was in the very low double-digit percentage range.

"The issue is that they have asked for an exorbitant increase in their carriage fees and their network ratings are sagging," he said. "Basically we're trying to hold the line for our customer."

Viacom said the increases would cost an extra 23 cents a month per subscriber — which works out to $35.9 million more in total. It said that Americans spend a fifth of their TV time watching Viacom shows but its fees make up less than 2.5 percent of the Time Warner cable bill.

A scroll was placed on many of the Channel last night by Viacom asking viewers for their support by calling their cable operators and requesting they keep those channels alive. For those interested in contacting the involved companies:

Bright House corporate offices: regional numbers
Time Warner corporate headquarters: 212-484-8000
Viacom corporate headquarters: 212-258-6000

The channels that would be affected are: Comedy Central, CMT: Pure Country, Logo, Palladia, MTV, MTV 2, MTV Hits, MTV Jams, MTV Tr3s, Nickelodeon, Noggin, Nick 2, Nicktoons, Spike, The N, TV Land, VH1, VH1 Classic, and VH1 Soul.

Source: Associated Press

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