Posted tagged ‘Viacom’

Time Warner, Viacom Reach New Deal

January 2, 2009

Time Warner Cable and Viacom have finalized details on an agreement that will allow Time Warner customers to continue to watch programming on Viacom’s MTV Networks.

From the New York Times:

The ball had already dropped in Times Square, but MTV Networks and Time Warner Cable kept talking into the early new year and concluded a deal in principle that ensured that shows like “SpongeBob SquarePants” and “The Colbert Report” would still be available to the 13.3 million subscribers to the Time Warner Cable service.

The final terms, which were not disclosed, will be worked out in talks in the next few days, an executive at Viacom, the parent of MTV, said.

The two sides had faced a deadline of midnight to renew the contract under which Time Warner pays MTV a rights fee for its 20 cable networks, which include MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, VH1, TV Land, BET and Spike.

Viacom demanded an increase of about 23 cents per subscriber to cover its full portfolio of channels, under a threat that it would remove all 20 networks from Time Warner’s systems. Viacom’s chief executive, Philippe P. Dauman, said the increase was justified because MTV Networks had been underpriced compared with other cable networks with fewer viewers.

From CNN:

A source close to the negotiations told CNN that TWC is expected to agree to pay a modest increase to Viacom in the new deal.

The developing agreement is expected to benefit both companies and their audiences, Viacom chief Philippe Dauman said.

On Wednesday, TWC customers faced the prospect that channels such as Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and MTV could go dark as of 12:01 a.m. Thursday.

The dispute arose after Viacom announced new fees for carrying its networks – adding up to $39 million a year on top of the hundreds of millions of dollars TWC is already paying to Viacom, according to TWC spokesman Alex Dudley.

Dudley described the 15% overall increase in fees as “unreasonable,” since programming rates are declining and the United States is facing terrible economic conditions.

TWC  – a publicly traded unit of Time Warner, the parent company of CNN – says it’s working to protect its customers’ interests, but Viacom argued the renewal fees were reasonable and modest when considering the profits TWC enjoys from Viacom networks.

According to Viacom, the new fees would amount to less than 2.5% of what TWC generates from their average customer.

Advertisements

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.