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Time Warner/Viacom Rift Healed, Pending Details

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the idiot-boxers-hit-the-showers dept.

The Media 75

jwilcox154 writes "Yesterday a dispute over fee hikes had threatened a damaging blackout at a minute past midnight Thursday that would have prevented TWC subscribers from watching their favorite shows such as 'SpongeBob SquarePants' and 'The Colbert Report.' The two sides reached an agreement on Thursday, the first of January 2009. The companies stated the terms of the deal were not disclosed. Details must still be finalized over the next few days."

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75 comments

A red new item? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26296243)

..and such an utterly insignificant one?
What's up with that?

Re:A red new item? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26296463)

I don't know about red on slashdot, but there was red in my toilet. I dropped a fat log a couple hours ago. It felt like a nigger cock raping my poor white asshole. When I wiped my ass, it was soaked in blood. Serves me right for letting Big Bruce fist me at last night's LUG.

Re:A red new item? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26297439)

I don't know about red on slashdot, but there was red in my toilet. I dropped a fat log a couple hours ago. It felt like a nigger cock raping my poor white asshole. When I wiped my ass, it was soaked in blood. Serves me right for letting Big Bruce fist me at last night's LUG.

0.o

Re:A red new item? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26297961)

Your not supposed to tell anyone the Grand Dragons name, WTF you think the pointy hats are for?!

Re:A red new item? (1)

davidphogan74 (623610) | more than 5 years ago | (#26296597)

Viacom had to cave eventually. They can't win this battle too easily. I'm sure TWC made a few concessions, but they win this one easily I'd guess.

But really, this is not insignificant. We'll see much more of this in the coming years.

Re:A red new item? (2, Insightful)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 5 years ago | (#26298153)

Viacom had to cave eventually. They can't win this battle too easily. I'm sure TWC made a few concessions, but they win this one easily I'd guess.

I think this is interesting in you really can't tell who has who by the balls.

My first reaction is Viacom has the upper hand. Nobody subscribes to cable TV to watch the carrier signal. No content means no customers, and Viacom was holding enough of the big channels that cable would be useless to most people without them. But then, with cable companies holding monopolies so often, cutting off Time-Warner means Viacom cutting themselves off from those markets for viewers.

If there were more cable companies available it wouldn't be an issue for Viacom. The customers would shift to the companies they were still carried on, and that would give Viacom extra leverage against those other companies at contract renewal, too. But here it's play ball or take what they can get from satellite subscribers, and the way smaller cablecos keep getting swallowed up by Cox, Time-Warner, and Comcast only makes it worse.

Re:A red new item? (1)

RpiMatty (834853) | more than 5 years ago | (#26299625)

I was watching TV last night (1/1/09 around 8pm) and Viacom was STILL running 30 second ads saying how Time Warner removed 19 channels from your lineup. Along with the Time Warner phone number. So it looks like Viacom was prepared to remove the channels and wasn't bargaining in good faith.
A deal was made, yet Viacom already had the ads lined up and still ran them, even tho the channels were still on the air.

Earlier this year it was Lin TV and TimeWarner (CBS in Buffalo), now Viacom and TimeWarner. I just wonder how much more my bill will be in a year from now after every other company demands more money from TimeWarner.

It's 2009. Happy new year... (2, Informative)

Apponaug (925810) | more than 5 years ago | (#26296245)

Welcome to 2009, not 2008...

Re:It's 2009. Happy new year... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26296269)

...the first of January 2008.

I was assuming this was more old news.

;-)

Re:It's 2009. Happy new year... (1)

trolltalk.com (1108067) | more than 5 years ago | (#26296575)

The two sides reached an agreement on Thursday, the first of January 2008.

I was assuming this was more old news.

It will be when it's duped. In the meantime, maybe they got hit with the "Zune 2009 is a leap year so stop working after December 31st 2008" bug?

Re:It's 2009. Happy new year... (4, Informative)

Coopjust (872796) | more than 5 years ago | (#26296305)

I guess timothy is still living in the year of Linux on the desktop...

(Ubuntu user here, sorry for the tired old joke :P )

Re:It's 2009. Happy new year... (1)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | more than 5 years ago | (#26296771)

(Ubuntu user here, sorry for the tired old joke :P )

No, a tired old joke would be making a comment on Duke Nukem Forever's release date. Then again, when something has been in development that long, everything about it (jokes, developers, the earth on a geologic timescale) gets pretty old.

Re:It's 2009. Happy new year... (1)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 5 years ago | (#26296615)

Hey, if they are squabbling over this sort of thing, it does seem much more fitting to be in the past.

2008 may have indeed been a more accurate description. Personally, I think it should be renamed:

2008 - Year of the RIAA.

Re:It's 2009. Happy new year... (1)

jwilcox154 (469038) | more than 5 years ago | (#26297347)

Didn't you know? All one has to do is add at least one typo, thinko, and/or misspelled word to the summary to guarantee the story will be accepted by an editor. ;-)

Re:It's 2009. Happy new year... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26299517)

When you take into account this was posted by a fat fucktard [johnbwilcox.net] and fat fucktards [johnbwilcox.net] always have a fucking low I.Q. Just look at that fat chair throwing fucktard over at M$.

Hey fat fucktard [johnbwilcox.net] , anytime you post I will remind everyone how much of a fat fucktard [johnbwilcox.net] you really are. Eventually someone in their right mind will mod your whole fucking account into fucking oblivion which is what fat fucktards [johnbwilcox.net] like you should do by slitting your fucking wrists. Once all you fat fucktards [johnbwilcox.net] do so, then there will never be a shortage of food in the fucking world ever again fat fucktard [johnbwilcox.net] .

If you flame me or ignore my post, then you will prove just how fucking right I am fat fucktard [johnbwilcox.net] . If you continue to post stories I will post similar messages telling everyone just how much of a fat fucktard [johnbwilcox.net] you are.

PEOPLE letÅ remember one thing (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26296267)

Time Warner is a closed source company. I support GNU/Viacom OSS F.T.W.!!!! Also, your motehr is a godless HORE/ with fat stanleys??????

Just Wondering (2, Interesting)

EzInKy (115248) | more than 5 years ago | (#26296271)

How much do you think Viacom will be paying to distribute its commercials to Time-Warner subscribers?

Torrents, Usenet Binaries, Rapidshare, mIRC.... (3, Interesting)

VinylRecords (1292374) | more than 5 years ago | (#26296307)

I have Time Warner Digital Cable, have had it for years, as Time Warner has a true monopoly on nearly all of the areas in Central and Upstate New York that I've lived in. My NYC apartment as well has Time Warner Digital Cable as well as getting a phone line and internet package was a cheap deal at the time and still is.

But have I turned on my cable boxes in the last two years? Not really. Everything I watch is downloaded or streamed on my PC. Instead of watching Major League Baseball, I use MLB's official MLB.TV video and radio streaming service. Episodes of LOST, South Park, Robot Chicken? Torrents usually. Some of them pirated, some I pay extra for. Either way it's still the same programming but different media.

Time Warner could literally blackout 99.9% of the channels (with Digital Cable I get over 500 channels of pure crap) and it wouldn't affect my TV viewing habits because I've made a complete transition to viewing media on my PC (or using VGA out to my HDTV) rather than from a cable box.

Even with HBO On-Demand that I pay for I still prefer to download episodes of shows or movies from the internet and just run them off my Laptop or my PS3's hard drive and onto my HDTV.

When is cable going to switch to à la carte programming and not forcing hundreds of wasted bandwidth and channels on the consumer?

What sense does it make to offer me 1000 channels, that's 1000 x 24 hours of programming a day...who has the time to watch that? Melchior? The Nu?

Give me à la carte or give me death. I'll pay for my cable as 'stealing' HBO without paying for it is not cool in my book, but the box remains unplugged so far in 2009.

Re:Torrents, Usenet Binaries, Rapidshare, mIRC.... (5, Insightful)

barzok (26681) | more than 5 years ago | (#26296411)

When is cable going to switch to à la carte programming and not forcing hundreds of wasted bandwidth and channels on the consumer?

I suspect it'll happen as soon as the content providers (like Viacom) do the same and stop forcing companies like TW to take all 20 channels even if they (or their customers) only want 10 of them.

IOW, TW can't give you á la carte because Viacom doesn't make it reasonable to do so, or doesn't allow it at all. Viacom will get $2.25/subscriber/month regardless of whether all the subscribers take 1 or 20 of the Viacom channels. So why bother with the extra overhead of letting the subscriber choose when it doesn't reduce any costs for TW?

Re:Torrents, Usenet Binaries, Rapidshare, mIRC.... (1)

davidphogan74 (623610) | more than 5 years ago | (#26296651)

The cable companies can point out how many customers don't have a choice, and will lose that channel (but not internet distribution of it.) We're getting to the point that the content delivery isn't so important, and that can be both good and bad for the cable companies, who are also ISP's.

Re:Torrents, Usenet Binaries, Rapidshare, mIRC.... (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 5 years ago | (#26297031)

Ala Cart Cable isn't going to be much better, the channel owners will claim they need some large sum of money for ala cart purchases because of the lost revenue stream or "self promotion" or whatever their bundles currently offer.

Taking greed into account from both the Cable providers and the channels owners, I suspect your ends up with something like $5 a channel with a minimum of 5 channels or something like that when going ala cart (if it was possible). I think too many people are thinking it would be something like monthly payment divided by the 500 channels they currently get and thinking the 5 or 10 channels they want would only cost $5 a month or so. I seriously doubt it would be much lower then the basic package and the more ala cart channels you go for, the more it will costs or something.

Re:Torrents, Usenet Binaries, Rapidshare, mIRC.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26296503)

Um, good for you?

Re:Torrents, Usenet Binaries, Rapidshare, mIRC.... (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | more than 5 years ago | (#26296553)

You could just rent the DVDs for most of the stuff on HBO, and there's a free (audio) podcast of Bill Maher's show. Seems to me you could probably cut down to a lower video package, if you're really not watching (even 'indirectly') those channels.

My bill better not go up even higher now. (1)

Deathlizard (115856) | more than 5 years ago | (#26296309)

Personally, I wish it did go off the air. TWC was talking refunds if the channels went dark. although I doubt they would refund the money, it would have been nice since I wouldn't miss any of those channels.

If it goes up because of this agreement all of a sudden however, I'm switching to Dish. For once, I was actually hoping a CableCo would stand up to unnecessary rate hikes. At least Dish Network let the channels go dark for a few days to put the pressure on.

Re:My bill better not go up even higher now. (4, Informative)

LtGordon (1421725) | more than 5 years ago | (#26296453)

You may not personally watch any of the Viacom channels but I guarantee you that a very large portion of homes with TWC cable service do watch them. We're talking at minimum all Nick, VH1, MTV, and Comedy Central channels.

Viacom knows this and has TWC by the balls. The last few days all of these channels had non-stop banners that made it sound like the big bad giant CableCo was going to cut the channels out of spite. In my opinion, TWC seemed to have done about as well as they could in the business sense: they held out as long as they could without incurring a loss, and probably made the best deal they could get. Remember, this is a business, i.e. having "balls" just as often means getting kicked in them.

Re:My bill better not go up even higher now. (2, Informative)

simple english major (940333) | more than 5 years ago | (#26297497)

Except that Viacom already provides a lot of that programming online for free, and what Viacom doesn't provide can easily be found through less-official sources - a fact which TWC has been gleefully pointing out for the past day or so. TWC can live without Viacom's content by charging more for access to bandwidth, which can in turn be used to access the content. Viacom, OTOH, doesn't get nearly as much revenue from online eyeballs as it does from eyeballs watching the TV. Their choices are to start charging the end user for viewing online content (good luck with that) or to take a big hit in their revenue stream when TWC is no longer paying them to carry their channels.

Re:My bill better not go up even higher now. (1)

Deathlizard (115856) | more than 5 years ago | (#26297669)

I don't know if their contract allows this, but the minute those banners showed up on their programming, TWC should have pulled those channels and replaced them with a nice graphic telling Customers that Viacom expects you to pay more and tell them to stop. Complete with a nice 1-800 number going to viacom HQ.

And as for market loss... I don't know if it would be that much of a loss. No one other than Dish Network went longer than 2 days, and I doubt they lost a ton of customers over it. And if you factor in a substantial refund, they can surely hold on for a while.

Also, you got people that are getting TWC Phone and Roadrunner. Those guys aren't going to dare switch over to Dish unless they *REALLY* need their SpongeBob or Colbert fix. The only risk there is anywhere FIOS is available, and that's not nearly deployed enough to lose substantial customers.

Re:My bill better not go up even higher now. (1)

Zuato (1024033) | more than 5 years ago | (#26301383)

This isn't the first time Time Warner has played hard ball and forced a group of channels off the air in the last 12 months. In Central Ohio they've done this twice now, well almost twice - the Viacom thing was averted at the last minute but the first instance was earlier in the year with the CW I think it was and their affiliated channels. I didn't care much to lose the channels, but my mother-in-law sure did and raised a big stink about it.

Then there was the highly publicized Big-10/Time Warner spat too - it seems Time Warner is in the habit of pissing off broadcasters and making it public so I don't blame Viacom for broadcasting the banners on the 31st. This one would have affected me with children in the house that enjoy both Nickelodeon and Noggin.

Have any of the other Cable carriers or satellite providers had this same crap happen? I don't remember this happening on Dish or Direct TV when I had them - but it's been two times in the last year with Time Warner that programming either has been affected or was close to being, with the Big 10 network thing being highly publicized on top of those two instances.

That's nice. (1)

RyanFenton (230700) | more than 5 years ago | (#26296369)

A poster on yesterday's thread [slashdot.org] claiming to be the "director of digital communications at Time Warner Cable", stated that lost channels would be refunded to some degree on bills.

I take it that this latest agreement will also be, um, represented in the upcoming bills also?

It's the jobs of both companies to raise the shareholder value - and the best agreement in that scenario would be to agree to take more from customers.

The original suggestion of using the Internet to access programming is starting to look better and better. Any companies out there seriously considering a competitive delivery mechanism using only existing Internet channels for such content? I'm tired of being the customer with very little real voice in such agreements, when the amount of programming I'm actually interested in is rather small.

Ryan Fenton

Re:That's nice. (1)

Hes Nikke (237581) | more than 5 years ago | (#26297601)

you should check out what leo laporte is doing with http://live.twit.tv/ [live.twit.tv] he says that he gets as many viewers for his flagship show as tech tv ever got on cable. Sure the network only runs for like 30 hours a week, but the staff is TINY. This is the wave of the future.

Re:That's nice. (1)

memnock (466995) | more than 5 years ago | (#26298731)

It's the jobs of both companies to raise the shareholder value - and the best agreement in that scenario would be to agree to take more from customers.

i think it's time to find a way to stop making everything beholden to the shareholders' wishes. whether it's allowing a company to exist for only a certain time or something else, somehow corporations have to be reined in.

Commercial revenue down thanks to DVR (3, Insightful)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 5 years ago | (#26296397)

Now its time for an alternative source of revenue. Unfortunately we are the ones who are going to pay for it as Time Warner and others have shareholders to meet and need to raise the price.

Thank god I do not watch TV that much anymore thanks to the internet. Maybe that is a good thing as some tier packages are approaching $100 and its ridiculous.

People unfortunately will pay big bucks for entertaining as witnessed from cell phones and TV packages. So why not charge more?

Subject (4, Insightful)

Legion303 (97901) | more than 5 years ago | (#26296455)

"The companies stated the terms of the deal were not disclosed."

I'll field this one. Viacom extorted a shitload out of TWC for the privilege of keeping the channels. For its part, TWC has agreed to rape its customers with even less lube to make up the difference.

Re:Subject (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26296731)

See, thats actually the problem

Viacom, being the assholes they are, assume that all of TWCs profits from Television were coming from Viacoms contract. so they wanted more of that. (which was under wrong assumption)

Normally, cable providers don't make much of a profit from the networks, so if Viacom wanted a 'raise' then that would be passed to the end consumers, which in the end would have been well into the millions. and Viacom wanted the extra per subscriber, not a % based increase from last years contract, but a raiser per TWC sub. So, if TWC takes on another million subs, then Viacom gets even more.

Viacom was really extorting TWC in this situation.

I mainly find it funny that Viacoms public statement gives the impression that TWC makes a lot of profit from Viacom alone.

but as I said, contracted network agreements, like with Viacom, the cable provider makes little profit, if any (in many cases). the profits that a cable provider makes in television is really limited to networks that the cable company has substantial stake in. for example with TWC, any Time Warner company.

Re:Subject (5, Informative)

DigitAl56K (805623) | more than 5 years ago | (#26296761)

From the mouth of the TWC CEO:

Link #1 [longreply.com] "Viacom is trying to extort another $39 million annually"

Link #2 [longreply.com] Viacom threatens to block TWC subscribers from accessing their free online content. They not only insinuate this to TWC during negotiations, but apparently also to subscribers using TWC's ISP as evidenced by this screenshot [twitpic.com] .

Re:Subject (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26296901)

That's pretty low. Also, it doesn't make any sense. Someone who's on an ISP that doesn't serve cable at all can get to the programming, but someone who pays for the programming can't because Viacom feels like busting TWC's balls? What next, I go to buy a DVD of a Viacom-produced show and the person at the register says I can't buy it since I'm a TWC subscriber?

Gut feeling says this violates anti-trust acts somewhere, but My Gut Is Not A Lawyer (MGINAL)

(captcha was 'fallout')

Re:Subject (1)

DigitAl56K (805623) | more than 5 years ago | (#26296955)

Well, I think the more important point is that this represents the definitive end of net neutrality: Nobody was *actually* shut off because of the ultimate outcome but Viacom insinuated that unless TWC, the ISP, was willing to pay more they would no longer have access to the free online content not because of territory restrictions but because they weren't getting a big enough score from subscriber revenues. The waters are muddied only by the fact that they appeared to be pursuing revenue for their TV channels but TWC is the single service entity and they were obviously implying the online content had significant value in the deal overall.

They blocked everyone (3, Informative)

Joe U (443617) | more than 5 years ago | (#26297067)

Actually for about 15 minutes NickJR went dark for not just Time Warner (roadrunner) customers, but apparently all of the US. There was no content and a message about a dispute with Time Warner being the reason they removed the content. I tried several different ISPs across the country (VPN/RDS/etc) and all of them were blocked, including Verizon, which had nothing to do with this dispute.

So, it appears that Viacom was ready to take their ball and go home, so to speak. I can only assume that after the millions of complaints and lost business they would have turned it back on for other ISPs and just blocked TWC/RR, but still, it's a scummy thing to do.

Re:They blocked everyone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26297305)

Viacom is just reminding everyone that their little government granted monopolies they call 'copyright' entitle them to deification.

Your definition of net neutrality scares me (3, Informative)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 5 years ago | (#26297605)

Well, I think the more important point is that this represents the definitive end of net neutrality

Is your concept of Net Neutrality that content providers are FORCED to allow access to content from anyone with an IP? Are you seriously saying that no content provider should be able to block access to whomever they like for whatever reason they like?

Remember we aren't talking about TWC (the ISP) blocking or even slowing access to anything.

By Bye DOS prevention mechanisms, for one thing...

Re:Your definition of net neutrality scares me (1)

DigitAl56K (805623) | more than 5 years ago | (#26297683)

Good point. It is not the ISP doing the blocking, but the content provider selectively blocking to negotiate prices. I suppose that is different in principle.

Re:Your definition of net neutrality scares me (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 5 years ago | (#26298453)

Net Neutrality seems to have taken on a new meaning here on Slashdot - essentially being 'anything that I disagree with, being done by someone I disagree with'. If you keep an eye out for it in comments, you can see the new meaning is quite widespread.

Re:Your definition of net neutrality scares me (1)

neomunk (913773) | more than 5 years ago | (#26300411)

Nice post, and less than 4 hours after the OP admitted his mistake. Oh, and that bit about completely ignoring the person you're talking about while they're standing right next to (on top of in this case) you, pure brilliance. Raw arrogance, ignoring the admitted correction, and generalizing about why slashdot sucks.

Beautiful troll, and written well enough so that most people won't even notice. Bravo.

Re:Your definition of net neutrality scares me (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 5 years ago | (#26300691)

Again, the label 'troll' seems to have similarly taken on a new meaning here on Slashdot - you disagree with my post, so I must be trolling. Brilliant.

The fact that DigitAl56K replied to the same parent that I did, and even conceeded there was room for a difference in opinion (I do not consider his reply to be an admittance of mistake or correction of his original post due to the wording, and nor should it be either of those things as it is his opinion in both cases) does not mean that I cannot also make an observation on the same topic, especially when my observation is wider ranging than his single post.

Omitting any reference to his second post does not mean I ignored it, nor should it mean that - it merely means I had something to say about his first post and a trend that has been happening on this site.

And you also seem to want to extend my post into areas that I never went - I never said that Slashdot sucks, and infact I never made any judgment about the usage I have observed, yet you wish to include such actions as an attempt to denigrate my post. That says it all really.

You make assumptions and you take privilege interpreting my comment, all in an attempt to grandstand your own opinion of someone you have never met, well done.

Re:Your definition of net neutrality scares me (1)

neomunk (913773) | more than 5 years ago | (#26306417)

I'm not grandstanding, and I have no reason to. Your attempt at looking highbrow through a lengthy and well-worded post fails me. Please, instead of trying to look sophisticated yet snarky, explain to me how your post differs from a troll. What, exactly, opinion of yours am I differing on?

Less arrogant expansion of simple concepts and more information please.

Re:Your definition of net neutrality scares me (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 5 years ago | (#26311335)

You could do well to take your own misapplied advice - you have added nothing to this thread beyond your own ranting.

Re:Your definition of net neutrality scares me (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 5 years ago | (#26303793)

Nice post, and less than 4 hours after the OP admitted his mistake.

Since he was speaking of the general case, and you are speaking of the specific - when will you admit your mistake?

Re:Your definition of net neutrality scares me (1)

neomunk (913773) | more than 5 years ago | (#26306377)

I don't understand your question.

Seriously, the fact that the poster was speaking in the general is covered in my post, I made no error.

Re:Your definition of net neutrality scares me (1)

Repossessed (1117929) | more than 5 years ago | (#26300581)

Why not? If ISPs don't get to extort money from websites, then websites don't get to extort money from ISPs.

As far as the DOS prevention tools problem goes, net neutrality has always had similar issues, the proponents just don't want to listen to anything thats wrong with their simple solution.

A low blow (2, Interesting)

87C751 (205250) | more than 5 years ago | (#26299143)

Viacom played a little dirty. The Time-Warner phone number in that screenshot (which was also shown on a crawl across all the Viacom channels the evening of the 31st) is the RoadRunner trouble reporting number. Nice of Viacom to dump on the RR help desk, who arguably didn't have any part of this fight.

Why is everyone blaming TWC for this? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26297335)

It's not like Viacom wanting an extra quarter per month per subscriber is going to put a dent in the already ridiculously high cable bill TWC customers receive.

Look at what TWC gives me: Local channels, which I watch, but which I could also get for free over the air. Viacom channels, a few of which I watch. Then there are a few other channels I watch, but no more than the number of Viacom channels that I watch. Then there are a bunch of other channels which I don't watch.

So in all, when you ignore the local channels I watch, which I could get just as easily without cable, half of the channels I watch are Viacom channels. Yet half of my cable bill doesn't go to Viacom. Less than 5% of it does. So where the fuck does the rest go?

I suppose another 5% goes to whichever provider owns the other non-local channels I watch. Maybe another 40% goes to maintaining that wire that brings me the channels. The remaining 50% apparently just goes to fund vacations for execuatives at TWC or some bullshit like that.

Yes, cable bills are high enough as they are, but it doesn't appear that the fault lies with Viacom. Viacom's fees are a very small part of my cable bill, and all Viacom wants to do is make them a slightly larger very small part of my cable bill. ...but some jackass at TWC decided that, rather than pay another quarter a month, they'd "protect their customers" by removing some of their most popular channels. Yes, sure, I believe that.

I'll tell you who caved. TWC caved just as soon as they received their 1,000th call from a customer who wanted to cancel their cable subscription since it wasn't worth what they were paying before and now it most definately wasn't worth it since half of their favorite channels were removed.

This is all nothing but TWC trying to squeeze every last penny out of everyone, just as they always do.

Re:Why is everyone blaming TWC for this? (1)

funaho (42567) | more than 5 years ago | (#26297477)

This is standards operating procedure for Viacom. They've had these spats with DISH Network too...at least twice I can remember in the past few years. Every time I hear about one of these disputes, it's always Viacom on one side of it. What does that that tell you about them?

Re:Subject (1)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 5 years ago | (#26299379)

Viacom extorted a shitload out of TWC for the privilege of keeping the channels. For its part, TWC has agreed to rape its customers with even less lube to make up the difference.

...and extort a shitload out of rival cable operators for the privilege of keeping its channels. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Subject (1)

Stiletto (12066) | more than 5 years ago | (#26299745)

For its part, TWC has agreed to rape its customers with even less lube to make up the difference.

It's not rape if the customers pay for it, and continue to pay for it.

I always chuckle when someone says "XYZ company is raping/screwing/(other sexual act) its customers!" It's not like someone's putting a gun to your head and forcing you to buy TV service!

Need more alternative channels (2, Insightful)

zymano (581466) | more than 5 years ago | (#26296567)

I never watch MTV - no more music videos, instead FAKED SCRIPTED(reality?) shows and contrived pc interracial multicultural dating shows.

It would be nice if there were alacarte.

Or even new shows NOT owned by one of the few production companies out there. Where is the variety?

In the end cabletv will die out with real fiber to home internet access which is affordable.

Re:Need more alternative channels (1)

soniCron88 (870042) | more than 5 years ago | (#26297435)

MTV's Palladia is actually a really excellent channel. Harkens back to the days when MTV actually played music videos, except in this case, it's almost entirely live sets. (Concerts, Unplugged, etc.) Good channel to check out, if you're lucky enough to get it.

The Spongebob Channel? (1)

Nerftoe (74385) | more than 5 years ago | (#26296635)

Why hasn't Viacom produced a 24 hour Spongebob channel? At any given moment, there is a very high probability that Spongebob is on one of the Nick channels. Why not give people some consistency and let them find Spongebob at his very own channel?

Re:The Spongebob Channel? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26296867)

It would be better than anything else on their network.

Re:The Spongebob Channel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26299819)

troll? this is insightful.

icravetv.com (3, Insightful)

similar_name (1164087) | more than 5 years ago | (#26296929)

Anyone remember icravetv.com back in the 90s. They were in Canada and used to stream ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, and a few others. At the time under Canadian law it was legal for companies to redistribute content as long as they didn't alter it. The law was intended to help rural areas. The idea was that as long as you weren't altering the content, the content creators benefited because they could reach more viewers and thus charge more for commercials. As much as I hate TWC why should they pay Viacom anything for increasing the viewer base.

TWC should only have to charge people for the pipe not the content. We watch commercials to pay for the content. I understand paying for premium channels but paying for ad-laden channels that fill most of cable is ridiculous.

BTW I seem to remember that one of the networks had icravetv.com shutdown prior to the super bowl because it would diminish the value of the event. I don't know how letting everyone who wants to watch commercials hurts you but then again that's my whole point.

Why TWC pays... (1)

qieurowfhbvdklsj (796402) | more than 5 years ago | (#26297367)

There's a simple reason TWC pays for these channels. They plaster their own commercials all over them. Cable companies are in the advertising business. Call them up and you can get your ads on any channel you like, even Viacom channels, and only in your local area.

So, given that TWC gets to put the ads on the channels, why shouldn't TWC pay for the channels?

Re:icravetv.com (1)

luther349 (645380) | more than 5 years ago | (#26297597)

i rember them there content even worked on dailup. tvu now does the same thing. but these days networks steam there content directly. thers very few channels you cant watch legily over the internet. networks kinda relised they messed up without admitting it.and started streaming shows with ads on the internet themselves.

Viacom was about to block Road Runner IPs (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#26299667)

thers very few channels you cant watch legily over the internet.

Unless your IP address is assigned to an ISP that also owns a cable TV network that no longer carries the channel. Road Runner customers were about to run into this. Switching ISPs would involve moving house closer to the DSLAM.

mo3 Down (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26297749)

Of HI?V and o7her

TV is stupid. (1)

jcuervo (715139) | more than 5 years ago | (#26298159)

Not even trying to troll. It really is. It took a few months of living without it for me to realize it.

Yeah, I'll still watch the Simpsons, Futurama, and Family Guy -- go figure, the guy saying TV is stupid is watching questionable shows -- but, jesus, I've had "Dude, Where's My Car?" on as background noise since it started. I'm watching the gag reel at the end right now, and it's the first time I've actually paid attention to it. No shit, this is what's on TV. Check my local listings if you don't believe me. Continuum transfunctioner, hot chicks, etc. etc.

If my TV fell off the "entertainment center" tomorrow, I wouldn't feel too bad about it. I bet even Colbert would approve of the "kill your television" philosophy, or at least the "ignore it when it dies" one. (See what I did there? How I tied it in to make it relevant? Yeah. Half a gallon of whiskey makes you pretty fucking insightful.)

Mod me troll if you don't believe the first sentence. I probably would. Of course... I'd agree with myself. :-)

Re:TV is stupid. (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#26299713)

If my TV fell off the "entertainment center" tomorrow, I wouldn't feel too bad about it.

I would feel bad about it, but only to the extent that I also use my TV as a monitor for my game consoles and my gaming PC.

Easy (1)

BCW2 (168187) | more than 5 years ago | (#26298873)

It's called money. TWC paid and Viacom released the hold on their balls. TWC customers/victims will see an increase in their bills as usual. The smart ones will drop TWC and go satellite.

In 9 years with TWC my bill was never the same 2 months in a row. They always wanted a few extra pennies.
I don't have that problem with DirectTv and get twice the channels for a $5.00 increase.

Trust me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26299003)

NOTHING would have been missed.

Viacom and Complaints (3, Interesting)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 5 years ago | (#26299183)

My wife decided to call Viacom and complain about their demanded 22-36% rate increase. The minute the woman heard her say "I'm a Time Warn...", my wife was switched to a recorded message blaming Time Warner for the whole mess and giving a Time Warner number to call to complain to. In other words, Viacom didn't want to hear any complaints and was trying to direct the ire of subscribers back to Time Warner.

Time Warner employees, however, saw my wife complaining on Twitter and gave her information on who to contact in Viacom. They also told her that it was unlikely that they would answer though as they had taken off until Monday morning. In fact, when Noggin and the rest didn't go black at 12:01am, we wondered if they were all just out of the office and forgot to leave someone there to shut the feed off.

Instead, it looks like Viacom asked for 22-36% and "settled for" 15%.

I seem to remember... (0)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 5 years ago | (#26299437)

something similar happening in the past.

Re:I seem to remember... (1)

horatio (127595) | more than 5 years ago | (#26300139)

I have no love for TWC, I dropped them a few months ago over continuing issues with their cablecard support. I'm not saying that TWC is at fault in this case, but this is the third specific time I can think of in the last few years where TWC has threatened to or has cut off access to programming over a dispute with a content provider. It seems like each time a content provider is twisting TWC's arm to charge more for content already provided, or to provide additional channels at additional cost to the customer.

One was over the ONN (Ohio News Network) channel, a brainchild of WBNS(?). TWC actually sent their customers OTA antennas and switch boxes with instructions on how to hook it up to continue getting the local CBS affiliate when the time came for TWC to stop carrying it - because WBNS reportedly told TWC they had to drop the local CBS channel if they wouldn't also carry ONN.

The other was over Ohio State Univ football games and the "Big Ten" network. This one seems to me to be the fault of the content provider. Basically, instead of having the OSU games on local channels, or even on pay-cable (ESPN, etc), the Big Ten decided that they wanted the games to only be on their own channel. The result was that for TWC customers last season most of the games were not available - home or otherwise. TWC finally caved and added BTN, but wow the channel is a complete waste of time. The commentators they have are more annoying than the broadcast guys - which is saying something. I used to enjoy them, but I stopped watching the games. Nice job Big Ten jackasses.

Re:I seem to remember... (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 5 years ago | (#26309009)

This is the third time in the PAST YEAR that TWC has played the silly victim card (we three different content providers). I'm switching to AT&T UVerse on Monday. I gave TWC the benefit of the doubt the first time--was a bit more skeptical the second--now I'm convinced they are just trying to max their profits all-the-while playing the victim.

I don't understand this but now that Obama is in.. (1)

jskline (301574) | more than 5 years ago | (#26302467)

Now that we will soon have President Spend-Thrift Obama in power, Viacom and Time Warner will ultimately have to play fair or be swallowed up in one governmental agency or another for it. Since Viacom was seeking an increase in revenue stream from these particular shows in question, this generally means that Mr. Obama will simply make them pay more taxes. He did say during his campaign that he would be increasing taxes on everyone! So as a result, all you American (socialist) citizens will either get to see your shows, or they will be shut down by the Feds for non compliance of the new tax rules. And; since a contract was now satisfied, you know dang good and well that the cable companies involved here are simply going to pass these hiked costs on to their subscribers. You cannot avoid it. So that might mean soon people will be calling in to lower service tiers or cancel service.

We used to live in a time where if the companies in question raised the rates for services, and you the consumer did not like the new rates, you could cancel it and eventually; given enough cancels, they'd either lower the price back down again to regain subscribers, or go under and out of business. Doesn't seem to be that way any more now. Too bad. We're all soon going to be at the 50% tax rate here in the USA and for what?? So everyone can watch Spongebob, and some of the other dribble they call art on the tube?? Oh; 2009 is going to be an interesting year. How many more companies are going to do the tax-rate hike-tax hike-rate hike thing...

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