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Old 12-31-2008, 12:04 PM
25,449 posts, read 10,566,475 times
Reputation: 25244


Originally Posted by The Bradenton Herald
'Colbert,' 'SpongeBob' may go dark on Bright House

AP Business Writer
"SpongeBob SquarePants" might get squeezed off local televisions.
Media giant Viacom Inc. said its Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central and 16 other channels will go dark for 13 million subscribers at 12:01 a.m. Thursday if a new carriage fee deal with Time Warner Cable Inc. is not agreed upon by then.
The dispute also could affect local subscribers to Bright House Networks. Bright House is managed by Advance/Newhouse Communications, but Time Warner maintains a stake in the company.
On its Web site, Bright House says it is trying to negotiate a new deal with Viacom.
"We at Bright House Networks want you to know that MTV Networks may pull Nickelodeon, MTV, VH-1, Spike, TV Land, Comedy Central and other channels from your channel lineup at midnight tonight.
"We are negotiating earnestly, honestly and fairly with MTV Networks, but so far MTV Networks has refused to give us an extension."
Bright House also has placed on the channels messages warning viewers about what might happen.
The impasse would mean "SpongeBob" and other popular shows like Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show" and Stephen Colbert's "The Colbert Report" will be cut off on the nation's second-largest cable operator. Time Warner Cable primarily serves people in New York state, the Carolinas, Ohio, Southern California and Texas.
Viacom has asked for fee increases of between 22 percent and 36 percent per channel, or a total of $39 million more, an amount that could increase customers' cable bills, said Time Warner Cable spokesman Alex Dudley.
"The issue is that they have asked for an exorbitant increase in their carriage fees and their network ratings are sagging," Dudley said. "Basically we're trying to hold the line for our customer."
Viacom spokeswoman Kelly McAndrew disputed the figure, saying Viacom requested an increase in the very low double-digit percentage range.
Viacom said the increases would cost an extra 23 cents a month per subscriber. 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.
"We make this request because Time Warner Cable has so greatly undervalued our channels for so long," Viacom said.
"Ultimately, however, if Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, MTV and the rest of our programming is discontinued - over less than a penny per day - we believe viewers will see this behavior by their cable company as outrageous," Viacom said.
Time Warner Cable's Dudley said Viacom rejected his company's proposal to extend the contract while the sides continue to negotiate.
Instead, Viacom appealed directly to Time Warner Cable's customers, with TV ads in major markets. In Wednesday's New York Times, the company ran a full-page, color advertisement with Nickelodeon's animated bilingual heroine "Dora the Explorer" crying and clinging to her monkey pal, Boots.
"Why is Dora crying?" the ad asks. "Time Warner Cable is taking Dora off the air tonight!" The ad urges viewers to call Time Warner Cable and demand that their favorite shows remain on the air.
If the shows go dark after midnight, Time Warner Cable will send people to the Internet to catch episodes. Dudley said the cable operator also will make available a video teaching people how to hook their computers up to the TV to watch online shows - a tactic it used during a contract dispute with broadcaster LIN TV in October.
Part of the disagreement is that most of Viacom's popular shows are rerun on Web sites where Viacom collects advertising revenue that it does not share with Time Warner, Dudley said. "We don't think that's fair," he said.
Viacom has staked much of its revenue-growth prospects on its ability to extract higher carriage rates out of its cable and satellite affiliates despite an ad slowdown and weak ratings.
In the third quarter, media network revenue, which accounts for about two-thirds of Viacom's total, grew 6 percent to $2.1 billion, despite global ad revenue falling 2 percent, largely because of double-digit percentage growth in affiliate fees and the success of its "Rock Band" video game.
Viacom shares rose 45 cents, 2.3 percent, to $19.71 in late morning trading Wednesday. Time Warner Cable shares lost 39 cents, 1.8 percent, to $21.37.
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.
You can help stop this!! The number to call Bright House is 1-866-309-3279 & Time Warner's # is 1-800-762-3786 if you want to call and demand that they keep this channels or these channels will go black at 12:01am Thursday, January 1st. Just a heads up!
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Old 12-31-2008, 05:41 PM
442 posts, read 1,363,504 times
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GREAT! The best thing that could happen to the 21st century is the BLACKOUT of MTV! There is a God!!!
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Old 12-31-2008, 06:41 PM
Location: Sarasota FL
6,864 posts, read 9,619,494 times
Reputation: 6595
MTV, Colbert, Daily, spongebob. Who are these people? They have TV shows? Does this mean I won't be able to watch an episode of CSI for the 47th time on Spike?
Who cares.
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Old 12-31-2008, 06:55 PM
Location: East Tennessee
3,926 posts, read 10,448,562 times
Reputation: 5230
Personally, I think Viacom should get over themselves. I don't care for or watch most of their programs any way. A 22-36% revenue increase in a down economy...what are they thinking? Maybe Brighthouse will offer the Viacom channels as premium services and I won't have to pay for something I don't watch any way. I posted similar comments on Viacom's "Contact Us" website page. My 2 cents.
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Old 01-01-2009, 12:17 AM
25,449 posts, read 10,566,475 times
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Well, it looks like Viacom came to an agreement with BH. It's 1:15am and the channels are still on.
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Old 01-01-2009, 02:06 PM
Location: Palm Island and North Port
7,486 posts, read 20,238,017 times
Reputation: 2815
Looks like they did come to some agreement: Time Warner Cable and Viacom reach deal - Yahoo! News (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090101/ap_on_bi_ge/viacom_time_warner_cable - broken link)
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