Posted tagged ‘Cable’

Time Warner May Lose ‘Daily Show’, ‘Colbert Report’ and ‘SpongeBob’

December 31, 2008

Viacom Inc. said today that its Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central and 16 other channels will go dark for 13 million subscribers at 12:01 a.m. (ET) tomorrow if a new carriage fee deal with Time Warner Cable is not agreed upon by then.

From the Associated Press:

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.

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