Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Viacom threatens to pull its cable channels

Viacom threatens to pull its cable channels

Listen to this article

Time Warner Cable’s CEO said Wednesday that media giant Viacom Inc. is threatening to pull its MTV Networks off at midnight unless the cable provider agrees to price increases for its distribution agreement.
In a statement issued Wednesday, Time Warner’s president and CEO Glenn Britt implored Viacom for a resolution or at least an extension before the deadline tonight.
But ultimately, Britt said, it is Viacom’s decision.
According to the release, Viacom is asking for an additional $39 million annually for its networks, which include Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, MTV and VH1.
“We sympathize with the fact that Viacom’s advertising business is suffering and that their networks’ ratings have largely been declining,” Britt stated. “However, we can’t abide their attempt to make up their lost revenue on the backs of Time Warner Cable customers. We’ve negotiated in good faith and made several concessions to help reach a fair and reasonable deal. We’ve asked for an extension of the current contract while we continue to negotiate.”
In a press release Viacom issued yesterday, the company called their contract reasonable and modest compared to the profits Time Warner enjoys. The increases, Viacom officials said, amount to an increase of less than 25 cents a month per subscriber.
“We make this request because Time Warner Cable has so greatly undervalued our channels for so long. Americans spend more than 20 percent of their TV viewing time watching our networks, yet our fees amount to less than 2.5 percent of what Time Warner generates from their average customer,” Viacom stated.
As a result, the company explained, its networks, including shows such as “Dora the Explorer,” “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” and “The Hills,” will go dark at 12:01 a.m. Jan. 1 for Time Warner Cable subscribers.

(c) 2008 Rochester Business Journal. Obtain permission to
reprint this article.