Viacom and TWC pending deal raises concerns for online media availability, distribution

By Justin Mann on January 2, 2009, 7:32 PM
The first day of the year came and went with no discernible change in Time Warner's customers ability to view Viacom content that includes MTV, Nickelodeon, and Comedy Central channels on customers' TVs or the web.

Viacom has been threatening to pull their shows from Time Warner Cable following a failed deal renewal in which Viacom is asking for a rate increase. What's made this situation unique is that Viacom has been notifying TWC customers through their website that content will be stripped unless they reach an agreement. The company even went a step further than just threatening to pull content from TWC's cable network, also announcing their decision to block TWC Internet customers from accessing their shows online despite of the fact they make these shows available for free through many other venues.

After the apparent extension of negotiations (since no service disruption has taken place so far), Viacom has apologized for some of their more aggressive parts of this campaign. TWC and Viacom have yet to work out an actual deal, but regardless of the outcome should content distributors specifically deny certain ISPs access to media? Let's raise a warning flag on this one.

User Comments: 2

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viperpfl said:
You know what I say to all of this, who cares. I am a customer of Brighthouse Cable which is a reseller of Time Warner. When I heard this happening, I didn't even raise a eyebrow. I have been through a couple of these disputes, the other being Dish Network, and in the end it all comes out the same. They try and turn the customer against each company because each company wants to earn favor points with the customer. Viewership is down and ad revenue is down but Viacom wants more money. There is definitely something wrong with this picture. They don't seem to understand that people are watching less TV these days. Just like people are reading less newspapers. Are the Viacom channels worth paying more for your cable bill? Let's use MTV as an example. I just read that they are redoing MTV and putting on more reality shows because viewers are way down. When did you last see a music video on MTV?I pretty much stopped watching TV because they can't leave a good thing well enough alone. They always have to change formats and they ruin the appeal. I use to love to watch the Sci-Fi channel but not anymore. They turned the Sci-Fi channel into a reality channel and ECW instead of a true Sci-Fi channel. Don't dare show your discontent on the Sci-Fi forum because they will remove your comments. This is why we need to be able to choose which channels we want instead of being forced to get channels we don't want. This way the customer has the control and possibly and end to the company fighting.
JDoors said:
"... should content distributors specifically deny certain ISPs access to media?" You betcha. Captalism at work people. If the content is valuable enough to cause concern when it's been removed, then it IS worth more and they should get paid more for it. If people simply find other content then it *wasn't* worth more and the provider should either lower their price or go out of business. Apparently, since they backed down, they realized either their content *wasn't* worth more, or they'd pay a price in lost viewership that they weren't willing to chance. Great example of Captialism at work.
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