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Cable One in Twin Falls Drops Viacom Programming – No More Spongebob

If you are a Cable One customer and you went to watch Spongebob Squarepants yesterday on Nicktoons or Teen Mom on MTV, you were greeted with a series of still shots that told the story of why Cable One dropped Viacom’s list of channels.

When we think about Cable providers, we sometimes forget that cable companies don’t actually create any of the programming we watch.  They are simply a distributor who pays the entertainment companies for distribution rights.

And like any other business relationship, terms are negotiated to help determine how much the cable company is going to pay for those rights.  The cable company, then charges us, so that we can access the programming.  Makes sense, right?

Well to make a long story short, the negotiations between Viacom and Cable One didn’t go well and Cable One opted to discontinue offering Viacom’s menu.

What does this mean to you?  It means that if you’re a fan of any of the following networks, you no longer have them if you’re a Cable One subscriber. Viacom channels include 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.  Those channels have been replaced with a series of still shots that look like this.

Cable one has also been airing a series of spots that explain their side of the story.

Cable one also says that they’re going to replace Viacom channels with other networks that they say you’ve been wanting.

Like any other sour business deal, there are two sides to the story.  Viacom claims that Cable One  ”refused to engage with Viacom productively” and chose “instead to delay conversations and push falsehoods on the press.”

Viacom was also quick to point out that Cable One’s negotiations with Turner Broadcasting also fell flat, leaving customers without Turner programming for several weeks.

Now matter how you spin it or who’s side you’re inclined to believe, these kinds of situations often leave a sour taste with customers.  There were certainly no shortage of comments on Cable One’s Facebook page.

Cable One Facebook screen capture

Now, don’t hold me to it but my guess is that (much like the Turner deal in 2013) this is basically a game of chicken and we are stuck in the middle.  It’s likely that either one party will cave to the others demands or they’ll strike some kind of compromise.  Cable One doesn’t want to lose potential customers and since Cable One is the 13th largest cable provider in the US, Viacom wants to be on Cable One’s list of networks.  Time will tell.  The question you have to ask yourself is:  Are you willing to wait it out?

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