Viacom and Time Warner Cable were at a standoff 12/31 over a dispute that threatens to prevent more than 13 million subscribers from seeing 19 MTV Networks including MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon. Viacom wants Time Warner to pay an extra $35 million to $40 million for carrying its networks.
Time Warner refused, citing the economic climate makes it impossible to pass along the costs to its customers. Viacom also denied Time Warner’s request for an extension of the current terms.
Viacom threatened to pull its networks from Time Warner at midnight 1/1 when the current contract is up, unless a deal was reached.
In the midst of it all, Viacom launched an ad campaign in the NY Times entitled, "Why is Dora crying? Time Warner is taking Dora off the air tonight! Along with 19 of your favorite channels."
Viacom says it deserves a larger revenue share because viewers spend more than 20% of their time with its networks, but its fees amount to less than 2.5% of Time Warner’s revenues from viewers. It believes the additional rate would cost subscribers around 25 cents more per month.
"We sympathize with the fact that Viacom’s advertising business is suffering and that their networks’ ratings have largely been declining," Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt said in a statement. "However, we can’t abide their attempt to make up their lost revenue on the backs of Time Warner Cable customers."