Viacom vs Time Warner Cable — the power struggle continues

by billso on Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Approx­i­mately 13 mil­lion Time Warner Cable sub­scribers may won’t lose their access to Viacom’s cable chan­nels at 12:01 am New Year’s Day 2009.

Updated 1-Jan-2009: Some­one blinked! Via­com chan­nels are still on TWC, at least for now. I guess all those peo­ple who called Time Warner Cable to com­plain made some kind of a dif­fer­ence. See the Asso­ciate Press arti­cle titled Time Warner Cable and Via­com reach deal.

That’s tomor­row morn­ing, folks.

For Hawaii TWC sub­scribers, that means Com­edy Cen­tral, MTV, VH1, Nick­elodeon and other chan­nels will go dark unless Time Warner Cable and Viacom’s top man­age­ment come to an agree­ment over the car­riage fees that Via­com charges Time Warner to include Viacom’s cable chan­nels in Time Warner Cable’s lineup.

Via­com claims that the increased car­riage fees would add 25 cents to each subscriber’s a monthly cable bill. Time Warner Cable claims this amounts to US$39 mil­lion in extra fees per year. Of course, most if not all of these fees would be passed along to consumers.

For what­ever rea­son, Time Warner Cable man­age­ment has stopped negotiating.

Of course, at least 1,000 time Warner Cable sub­scribers on Oahu can’t watch cable tele­vi­sion in their homes because their cable boxes were dam­aged by power surges on Sat­ur­day, when Time Warner restored ser­vice after the island-wide black­out. The cop­many has exhausted its Oahu inven­tory of DVRs and dig­i­tal cable boxes and is await­ing a new ship­ment from the main­land. It’s bad news for folks who wanted to watch foot­ball this week.

It’s always a good idea to unplug elec­tronic equip­ment like cable boxes and cable modems from elec­tri­cal out­lets and input cables dur­ing a long black­out. When the cable tele­vi­sion lines are restored, there may be an ini­tial power surge that can travel through the cable tele­vi­sion system.

This is yet another rea­son to install and use a surge pro­tec­tor or UPS that has AC power and cable coax­ial connections.

See these arti­cles for some more back­ground and updates.

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