Unfortunately, despite a challenging economic environment, Viacom wants a more than 20% overall increase in what they’re paid, which includes significant payment for a new network with R-rated programming that our customers have not requested and may not want.
As contract deadlines draw near, Viacom has a history of using scare tactics. For instance, two years ago, with the customers of another cable company, Viacom exploited some of its own characters, like Dora the Explorer and SpongeBob SquarePants, depicting them as crying over the prospect of being taken “off the air.” Those tactics were misleading and unfair. First, only Viacom would force its programming “off the air.” Second, Viacom tried to leverage its children’s programming to extract higher payments.
Hopefully, Viacom will forego such measures and instead negotiate with us in good faith to establish a new contract with fair and reasonable terms for our customers.
In the unusual event these negotiations are unsuccessful and Viacom removes its channels, we reiterate our pledge to reduce customer prices by the cost of the affected channels for whatever length of time they are unavailable.
We will provide further updates when there is a material change in the status of these negotiations.
The current negotiations cover the following Viacom channels, which are typically featured on our widely available “Expanded Basic” service: MTV, Nickelodeon, TV Land, Comedy Central, Spike TV, VH1, CMT. Other Viacom channels affected by these negotiations are featured on incremental, digital service packages. They include: Logo, Palladia HD, Nick Jr., TeenNick, NickToons, Nick2, MTV Hits, MTV2, MTV Jams, Tr3s, VH1 Classic, VH1 Soul, and CMT Pure Country.