Blog Archive

Monday, March 31, 2014

Dark Channels in Glasgow, Why We are Fighting

Monday, March 31, 2014
Dark Channels in Glasgow, Why We are Fighting

Now that the biggest basketball game of this year's NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament is over, we have an important update about the big battle going on between Viacom and all small cable systems in the United States. The odds are that all of the channels on our cable system which carry Viacom owned programming, may go dark.

In fact, by the time you read this, they might already be gone. Click on this link for a full listing of the channels involved in this confrontation.

The reason why these channels are likely to go dark is very simple. Contrary to their onscreen messages, negotiations are continuing daily. However, we have been unable to negotiate a reasonable deal for a new contract with Viacom, so they are now attempting to drag you into this conversation by interrupting their programming. Viacom is asking for rate increases for these channels that are so staggering they are laughable. On your behalf, we are refusing to pay what they are asking, because we would then have to pass those increases along to you. We are certain that you would find the increases they are asking for totally unacceptable.

This conflict does give us a chance to review a simple fact about the cable television business. Nearly every single channel of programming you purchase from us, must be, in turn, paid for by us. The worst part of this reality is that the technology is in place to allow each customer to only purchase the channels that they are interested in and willing to pay for. We call this "a la carte" programming, and we think our Congress should mandate that programmers must sell their product this way. But, that is not the situation we are in today. Rather, all programmers force us to deliver their basic programming to everyone if we are going to have access to it for anyone. That means we have to pay for the programming for each of our customers, even though many might not be interested in the programming at all. It is a very greed driven system and it drives up the costs for everyone.

Twenty six of Glasgow EPB's cable channels carry Viacom programming. So, if they go dark, you are very likely to notice, but for many of the channels, there are ways to access the programming online. Please refer to the link for information about how this can be done. If the Viacom channels go dark and stay dark such that our cost of programming goes down, we will pass those savings along to you. If we negotiate an acceptable deal with Viacom at the last minute, then this message will have been unnecessary and you won't experience any missing channels.

As they say in the television business, stay tuned for updates!