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Viacom Threatens To Pull Content Offline
While Time Warner tells us customers will see refunds...
by Karl Bode 06:04PM Wednesday Dec 31 2008 Tipped by PhoenixDown See Profile
This morning we noted how a feud between Time Warner Cable and Viacom could result in Time Warner Cable and BrightHouse customers losing Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central and 16 other channels. The fight has gotten consistently more ugly as the day has progressed, with Viacom blasting the screens of both BrightHouse and TWC customers warning them that not only will customers lose access to Viacom channels on cable, but that they'll lose access to online content.

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It's not exactly clear how Viacom plans to seriously enforce that threat. There's a multitude of broadband-delivery alternatives for customers who need their Daily Show or South Park fix, and it's obviously highly unlikely Viacom could or would ban Roadrunner and Bright House IPs from accessing them.

Time Warner Cable seems to be taking the threat seriously, Twittering that they internally believe Viacom will attempt to "block our customers from the same full Web experience that they provide everyone else for free." "They're going to take all their video content off the Web and ruin it for everybody," insists the company. The company repeated this sentiment when we contacted them for comment.

"They can block IP addresses, or ranges of IP addresses," insists a Time Warner Cable spokesman. "Of course, we are talking about a company that prepares a multimillion dollar media blitz to hammer us publicly while claiming to negotiate in 'good faith,'" he says. "So who knows what they're prepared to pull."

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Given purging the Internet of Viacom content is technically difficult if not impossible (especially considering piracy), the threat is likely a scare tactic being used by the company to get additional customer call volume sent in Time Warner Cable's direction. Viacom probably knows that if customers know they can get content online, for free -- it weakens negotiations (Time Warner says they want rate increases of between 22 percent and 36 percent per channel).

Viacom is also running ads alerting customers of the dispute. The American Cable Association is firing back via press release, calling the channel crawlers and other alerts "the most foolish and inflammatory message(s) we have seen to date." Meanwhile, Time Warner Cable spokesman Jeff Simmermon tells us that whatever happens, customers will automatically be seeing refunds applied to their bills.


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FFH
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reply to cypherstream

Re: Providers need to join an alliance and rebell together

said by cypherstream:

Customers and Providers are fed up with this. Time for all providers to join together and rebel against this. Get the American Cable Association, NCTA, Big boys like Comcast, DirecTV, Dish Network, etc.. to form an alliance.
Except that most of the customers WILL call up TWC & BrightHouse and whine to cust svc reps to just pay Viacom what they want. And if, god forbid, TWC & BrightHouse stand up to Viacom and the channels are shut off, these same customers will be calling their congresscritters and the FCC demanding that the cable companies be FORCED to carry the Viacom channels. And when the price goes up, they will whine about cable company price increases.
Everyone should remove Viacom from their systems. What's viacom without a distributer. It would be a modern day Boston Tea Party. This would be a stance that content providers need to be more reasonable.
I agree that this would be a great idea. Except that the cable companies would be hauled in to court within hours and be hit with a restraining order and be accused of breaking anti-trust laws.
We need an aliance to finally help the consumer. I don't even care if the FCC has to step in. The FCC usually does more harm than good, but right now they need to investigate the real problem area's, not the multi service video providers.
The FCC has repeatedly slapped the cable companies down in favor of the content providers, who really pull the strings at the FCC. This time would be no different.

And if you needed proof, here is an example of the typical customers attitude and response to the issue:
said by Knuckles:

I already called Direct Tv will have service set up Monday.
The way I see it Brighthouse does not want to come off some profit margin. I will keep my channels and gain the NFL network.... See ya Brighthouse.....your light went dim in my home.
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cypherstream
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Reading, PA
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Providers need to join an alliance and rebel together

Customers and Providers are fed up with this. Time for all providers to join together and rebel against this. Get the American Cable Association, NCTA, Big boys like Comcast, DirecTV, Dish Network, etc.. to form an alliance.

Everyone should remove Viacom from their systems. What's viacom without a distributer. It would be a modern day Boston Tea Party. This would be a stance that content providers need to be more reasonable.

We need an alliance to finally help the consumer. I don't even care if the FCC has to step in. The FCC usually does more harm than good, but right now they need to investigate the real problem area's, not the multi service video providers.