Viacom, Time Warner Cable help get people out of the house

December 31, 2008

Viacom and Time Warner Cable are doing their best to make sure that television addicts around the country get a chance to go outside and stretch their legs come New Year’s Day. Of course, the reason they’re doing their part for physical fitness has little to do with ensuring the health of their viewers.******As Reuters reports, Viacom — the company run by financially challenged media mogul Sumner Redstone — provides programming to cable networks like Time Warner Cable for a fee. Now we’re at a time when Viacom and Time Warner Cable are renegotiating the fee, a regular occurrence. Equally regular are the disputes that arise as the negotiators try to determine what a fair price is.******The ultimate loser turns out to be you, the faithful TV watcher, because the last resort of companies like Viacom is to pull their programs off the air. The idea is that sends watchers into paroxysms of rage, usually directed at the cable company that they give all their money to every month. Eventually, the idea goes, the cable company cries Uncle! and agrees to pay more money to bring you the programming. Yes, your bill goes up too, as it always does.******Here’s a sample of what will stop being broadcast on Jan. 1: Dora the Explorer, SpongeBob SquarePants, The Colbert Report, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Hills.******And here’s a sample of the pre-packaged righteous indignation that you hear at times like this from the companies:***

Viacom: Time Warner Cable has dismissed our efforts at a fair compromise… As a result, we are sorry to say that for Time Warner Cable customers our networks will go dark as of 12:01 on January 1st.


Time Warner Cable, via spokesman Alex Dudley: “It just smacks of desperation from a company that is trying to make up for a failing business model on our subscribers’ backs, and we’re not going to take it.”

******Don’t worry C-SPAN will continue uninterrupted.******Keep an eye on***

  • Speaking of cable, the 24-hour news channels got record ratings this year, though it looks like they would have made Obama race against McCain for another year, if just to keep them relevant until the financial crisis is expected to ease. (Los Angeles Times)
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  • The Village Voice continues to shed the names that made its name so famous. The latest axe casualty is Nat Hentoff, the influential jazz critic who started there in 1958. Sketches of Pain, anyone? (The New York Times)
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  • Vicki Iseman, intentionally or not, was kind enough to wait until after John McCain lost his 2008 presidential bid to sue The New York Times over its February 2008 article that the lobbyist said suggested that she and the Arizona senator were carrying on inappropriately in more ways than one. (Reuters)
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I personally have no problem with loosing any of these. TV today isn’t what it us to be, and I have found very few shows that I like. as pointed out in another article I read about this, most are getting their entertainment from websites now anyway. The way I see it, those who say they can’t get your fix of “The Hills”, I ask, what did you do before the show came out? with free TV soon to be a thing of the past, all the digital providers are going to start charging more because they can. I find it funny that both are willing to loose ALL the money instead of both getting SOME money. Personally, I say turn the set (TV) off, go to the big brick building down town, ya know, the library? find something in the Genre of your favorite show and read. use your imagination. or if reading isn’t your thing, pick up a hobby like woodworking or volenteer at your local YMCA or Salvation Army. let the TV world go bankrupt and fade out. listen to the radio, excersize, read a book, get a hobby instead of drooling in your lap!

Posted by Ken R | Report as abusive

So those shows like Dora, Spongebob, etc. will be taken off of Time Warner?Outrageous!If it gets miserable, I am changing to Dish Network.And thats that.

Posted by Uhhh | Report as abusive

Let them walk. These networks are pandering garbage on the American TV viewer. I’m tired of paying for things I never watch and MTV, VH1, Nick and BET are all on my black list. We constantly subsidize this and other programming that doesn’t appeal to the intellectually minded. ESPN and Disney are other examples of expensive networks that don’t cater to those of us who are more interested in documentary than idle drivel. Let’s adopt an ala carte rule and stop the unfair practice of charging everybody to subsidize outragously expensive and content-free programming.

Posted by Roger KC | Report as abusive

I am curious to see how this battle turns out in the end.Most of the channels the will be pulled do not matter to me(MTV, VH1, Nick [sorry :P]). However, pulling comedy centralis huge to me. It is possibly my most watched channel on television. It would be a darn shame to not be able to watchThe Colbert Report and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart!Interestingly, I cannot decide who is the bad guy here…Apparently Viacom wants more money from TWC.TWC doesn’t want to increase their customers bill.*shrugs* Who knows?

Posted by ~Kev | Report as abusive

Looks like the Viacom stations are still on Time Warner this morning (Jan 1). Not surprised.

Posted by John Spencer | Report as abusive

Looks like the Viacom stations aren’t going away, which for me is convenient…. I could have lived with a falling out with Viacom and TW, but really wasn’t looking forward to switching providers right now.@RogerKC — Sounds like you would favor an ‘a la carte’ option (as would I) that would allow you to buy only the channels you like. Would that allay your concerns, or would you still prefer to rally against the right of others to consume services you personally find useless?

Posted by Kevin Cooper | Report as abusive