Viacom and Time Warner Cable reach agreement, for now

Time Warner Cable and Viacom have, for the moment, settled a dispute that could have resulted in 19 Viacom channels, including MTV and Nickelodeon, being taken off Time Warner Cable's network. All 19 channels were due to go dark at 12:01 on January 1, 2009, but a quick, if not rushed agreement was made.

The dispute was created due to Viacom requesting a change in carriage fees from Time Warner Cable. Viacom wanted an increase of 25 cents a month, per subscriber, working out to be $2.76 per year. This would have resulted in an extra $39 million being paid to Viacom, something that Time Warner Cable disputed, as they already pay Viacom $300 million annually.

However, a last minute agreement was made on the same day Viacom's channels were due for removal; although it's unlikely Viacom will stay quiet for long. During the dispute, Viacom released several television and newspaper adverts attacking Time Warner Cable, one requesting that all viewers phone up Time Warner Cable and demand they don't remove Viacom channels.

On the day, Time Warner Cable said, "We are pleased that our customers will continue to be able to watch the programming they enjoy on MTV Networks. We are sorry they had to endure a day of public disagreement as we worked through this negotiation". Viacom has been at the centre of several controversial issues recently, including the YouTube litigation. However, unlike the last ones, this time Viacom was on the receiving end - and escaped something that could have been very costly.

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