t-mobile unlimited data planCable operator Suddenlink is warning customers that they could lose Viacom channels if the two companies cannot agree on what Suddenlink should pay to carry that programming. Viacom owns several popular cable channels, including Comedy Central, MTV, VH-1, Nickelodeon and others – as well as some that are not so popular.

“Viacom demanded a significant increase in payments, even though viewership has decreased in the last several years for its main channels, some by almost 30%,” wrote Suddenlink Thursday on a website set up to inform customers about the negotiations and keep them up to date on new developments.

On Friday Suddenlink noted that it had asked Viacom for a price for only its most popular channels. Viacom responded by further increasing its price demands on a per-channel basis, Suddenlink said.

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Viacom/ Suddenlink Dispute Not an Isolated Event
The situation between Suddenlink and Viacom is one that’s becoming increasingly familiar as Viacom reportedly has been asking for substantial price increases as pay TV providers’ contracts come up for renewal.

One of the higher profile disputes this year was between Viacom and the National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC), which negotiates a contract with Viacom that can apply to any of NCTC’s 800 small cable company members.  The NCTC was able to negotiate a deal with Viacom, but 60 NCTC members thought the price was too high and opted to no longer carry Viacom programming. A previous dispute between Viacom and DirecTV involved DirecTV customers losing access to Viacom content during negotiations.

Viacom hasn’t hesitated to use what some might consider unsportsmanlike tactics with service providers that fight or opt out.

After pulling its channels from DirecTV during negotiations, Viacom ran ads featuring cartoon characters from some of its favorite TV shows saying that DirecTV had dropped Viacom programming and urging them to call DirecTV to complain. And when the 60 NCTC members opted not to renew Viacom contracts, Viacom prevented customers of those companies from viewing recent Viacom content previously made available to any Internet user on Viacom websites.

Anticipating such tactics, pay TV providers increasingly are setting up web pages such as the one Suddenlink has created to tell customers their side of the story. That strategy may have played a role in NCTC members continuing to receive Viacom content for a few days after the NCTC’s previous contract with Viacom expired as the two companies continued to negotiate.

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4 thoughts on “Viacom/ Suddenlink Dispute Brewing Over Price Hikes

  1. It's really a difficult decision to make for Suddenlink. Personally, I think Suddenlink is for the viewers, but Viacom probably made the decision on the grounds of the economics. The Fed keeps printing more and more money making the dollar bill less and less valuable. When certain channels are blacked out, then a lot of kids will be saying "I want my MTV, I want my nick", and they'll be saying the same thing about the other channels. Washington D.C. could do something about it, but they want the nation to go under, and the dollar bill to become worthless. That's why Viacom has to raise prices on cable operators like Suddenlink. Vote the bums out if you want to keep your favorite channels.

  2. Only two channel on there worth watching. And I could live without mtv and comedy central. Nick is not that big anymore. Mtv and comedy central produces nothing but trashy libs anyways so adios!

  3. I know how much my Suddenlink Cable bill is each month and for the amount that I pay should be way more than enough to pay Viacom for there services. Suddenlink wants to be greedy and make most of the profit off of how much we pay as customers via doing the right thing and pay for the services there "CUSTOMERS" want to watch. There is no need to raise our rates we already have Channels on our cable lineup that WE NEVER WATCH!! UGH Stop acting stupid Suddenlink and PAY UP!!!

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