Contract talks have stalled between Viacom and the nation's 2nd largest cable operator, Time Warner. The cable giant claims Viacom is seeking renegotiated carriage fees that are 'exorbitant'. Content providers such as Viacom receive a fee by carriers to broadcast their content on their systems.
Viacom, on the other hand, claims they are seeking only a modest and relative increase based on the profits Time Warner 'enjoys' from their networks. Most of their other contracts with cable and satellite carriers have been successful.
This fight between companies will have a very physical effect on cable viewers, when on 12:01 January 1st, 2009, 19 channels will go dark. These are Comedy Central; CMT: Pure Country; Logo; Palladia; MTV; MTV 2; MTV Hits; MTV Jams; MTV Tr3s; Nickelodeon; Noggin; Nick 2; Nicktoons; Spike; The N; TV Land; Vh1; Vh1 Classic; Vh1 Soul. Quite a big audience.
The outage will affect those in major markets, including Raleigh, Orange County, Los Angeles, and New York City.
Viacom has already produced a video hoping to get customer support.