In Depth

Time Warner Cable: Viacom Wants $39 Mil More Annually

Time Warner Cable says Viacom, which is threatening to pull signals for 19 cable networks from the operator’s system, is seeking $39 million more annually in the companies’ fee dispute.

Viacom plans to remove its channels—including Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and MTV—from Time Warner Cable at midnight unless a new carriage deal is struck.

“Viacom claims their demands equate to ‘pennies,’ but that is misleading and insulting to our customers, from whom Viacom is trying to extort another $39 million annually–on top of the hundreds of millions of dollars our customers already pay to Viacom each year,” said Time Warner CEO Glenn Britt in a statement released Wednesday. “That doesn’t sound like pennies to us. Demanding that our customers pay so much more for these few networks would be unreasonable in any economy, but it is particularly outrageous given the current economic conditions.”

Mr. Britt also noted that Viacom has had difficulties growing advertising revenue in recent quarters. Controlling Viacom shareholder Sumner Redstone has also been negotiating to restructure his family company’s debt in order to avoid having to sell Viacom stock.

“We sympathize with the fact that Viacom’s advertising business is suffering and that their networks’ ratings have largely been declining. However, we can’t abide their attempt to make up their lost revenue on the backs of Time Warner Cable customers,” Mr. Britt said.

“We’ve negotiated in good faith and made several concessions to help reach a fair and reasonable deal. We’ve asked for an extension of the current contract while we continue to negotiate. But Viacom doesn’t appear to be interested in what’s fair and reasonable for American consumers–they’re only interested in propping up their sagging bottom line, and they are poised to pull their networks from Time Warner Cable customers tonight.”

Viacom is taking out commercials and print ads, alerting Time Warner Cable subscribers about the dropped networks.

For the latest news on the Viacom-Time Warner Cable fight, click here.

(Edited at 1:52 p.m. ET to add video.)