Viacom Channels Off Cable ONE As NCTC Pact Expires

Cable ONE said "Viacom forced it to remove" the following Viacom networks from the cable lineup following the expiration of the Cable ONE/Viacom contract on March 31: BET, Centric, CMT, Comedy Central, MTV, MTV2, MTV Hits, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., Nick Teen, Nick Toons, Spike, TV LAND, VH-1, and VH-1 Classic.

The Cable ONE blackout comes as Viacom continues to negotiate with the National Cable Television Cooperative, the buying consortium that is representing about 5 million subscribers in mostly rural cable systems in the carriage talks.

"Despite the fact that viewing is down on 12 of Viacom’s networks, some by as much as 30% since 2010, Viacom demanded an increase greater than 100 percent to carry all 15 of their channels,” Cable ONE CEO Tom Might said in a release.  “We asked for a price reduction because of their declining viewership and they refused. We also asked to drop the less popular networks and only carry the networks our customers really watch, and the rate they demanded was even higher. That means we would have to pay more, for fewer channels.”

Cable ONE plans to make substitutions with networks such as BBC America, Sprout, The Blaze, Hallmark Channel, National Geographic, Investigation Discovery, TV One and SundanceTV.

The new Cable ONE lineups can be seen at the web site Cable ONE operates in 19 states.

In Idaho, Cedar Falls Utilities also announced the replacement channels it would be carrying if as expected the NCTC-contracted Viacom channels went off the air, the local reported. They include Disney Junior, FXX, Investigation Discovery, Fox Business News and the Hallmark Movie Channel, the site reported. Shrewsbury Electric and Cable Operators in the Worcester, Mass., area also made similar preparations.