Vyve Broadband joins Independent Cable Operators in stand against Viacom Rate Hikes
Vyve Broadband and hundreds of other independent operators across the country may be required by Viacom to remove all Viacom channels until such time as a new agreement is secured. The existing agreement with Viacom, owner of numerous networks including MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central, expires on March 31, 2014 and despite good faith efforts to negotiate a contract renewal at a fair price for these networks, Viacom continues to demand a huge rate increase. This potential loss of channels is not an isolated incident and in fact is part of a larger, industry-wide problem that has seen channels go dark across the country over the past several years.
“Vyve’s goal is to protect our customers from significant programming fee increases. Because we pay programmers a monthly fee per channel for every customer for their programming, we believe it’s our responsibility to take a stand when a multibillion dollar company such as Viacom demands exorbitant increases.” said Dave Harwood, General Manager for Vyve Broadband. “These large increases impact all of us throughout our communities and we want to make sure our customers know we are working on their behalf.”
The current proposal from Viacom would have costly repercussions for the company’s customers. While we are restricted from talking about specific rates, Viacom demanded an increase that is 40 times the rate of inflation*. From another perspective, this would be similar to pulling up to the gas pump and finding that gas has gone from $3.50 a gallon to $6.00 – overnight.
Vyve Broadband is a small operator which has invested heavily in our rural networks so we may bring next generation Internet, video and phone services to our largely rural footprint. Part of that upgrade is the creation of a 100% digital, HD video product to complement our cutting-edge Internet service, which will bring our customers the best possible service at the greatest value. As we deliver these new services, programming costs remain a continual concern.
* Source: 12-month period from January 2013 to January 2014, Bureau of Labor Statistics, released February 20, 2014.