Digital News Report- At 12:01am on January 1st an estimated 13.3 million homes in the US could see static on Viacom channels such as Comedy Central, MTV, and Nickelodeon. Viacom’s licensing agreement with Time Warner Cable will expire at that time after contract talks between the two companies failed.
Viacom is asking for TWC to increase subscriber fees by 25 cents per month for access to their 19 channels. Alex Dudley, a Time Warner Cable spokesman, said, “they are holding our customers hostage for a bunch of networks with sagging ratings and only one or two good channels. We have to hold the line for our customers.”
According to the Associated Press, Dudley expressed concern over Viacom airing its content online for free. Viacom does not share the revenue from the internet with cable providers. Dudley said, “they’re trying to have their cake and eat it too online, where anybody can get it for free.”
Viacom has released a statement saying that they have been forced off the air and that Time Warner is, “overreaching for profit at the expense of its viewers.” They argue that Americans spend more than 20% of their TV viewing time watching their networks, but that their fees are less than 2.5% of what TWC generates from their average customer.
Shows that could go dark for TWC customers include The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Dora the Explorer, SpongeBob SquarePants and The Hills. Viacom has stated that TWC is has “chosen to deny its customers some of the most popular TV shows on the air.” Negotiations will resume on Wednesday in an attempt to keep Viacom’s networks on the air.
Customers can reach the Time Warner Cable at 1-800-762-3786 Customers with Bright House can call 1-866-309-3279