Suddenlink vs. Viacom

by admin on December 31, 2010

in Tyler Businesses

I switched my television service from Direct TV to Suddenlink cable about nine months ago when I saw my satellite bills increasing and wanted high speed internet in my home. While the cable company and I had a rocky start, (something I wrote about extensively for Tyler TX Directory last spring), we have since ironed out our differences with a series of mutually beneficial compromises which have, until now, lead to a more satisfying television viewing experience. But now it seems there’s once again trouble in paradise. But this time the threat to my domestic entertainment happiness comes from an outside source.

It seems Viacom entertainment is demanding a twenty percent rate increase from Suddenlink and other cable companies. From what I understand, the rate hike comes in part to help subsidize a new “R- rated” movie network that very few customers seem to want, and television giants like Direct TV and Comcast refused to carry on the basis of the fact that they already offer numerous other movie channels. Whatever the Viacom’s agenda, the conglomerate is threatening to pull their networks (which include the MTV, VH1, and Nickelodeon franchises) from the cable giant’s line- up unless they agree to pay the higher price by the December, thirty first midnight deadline. The company (in my opinion) certainly comes off looking like the villain here. I don’t particularly like most of their networks. MTV is merely an enabler for adolescent hedonism, and music vids in general don’t do much for me. What I do hate to lose is Nick and Nick Jr. as they carry my son’s favorite shows.

I am open to the argument that all of this “is just business.” But I don’t much like the way Viacom conducts its business. The faceless media giant is always using its more benign children’s programming as a way of advancing networks with very liberal programming agendas, against the average customer’s desires. While these negotiations take place in the offices of some corporate bureaucrats, customers like me find themselves taking the hit either way. Either my son loses Dora and his other favs or my monthly cable rates go up. Of course I could simply go down a tier, but then I lose other networks I enjoy for only a moderate “savings.” For the time being I can at least appreciate that Suddenlink promising to reimburse customers for any lost channels.

I hope the companies can come to an amicable solution. I guess we’ll know in about four hours. I’m just glad my TiVo is still loaded with children’s shows just in case.

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