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The Cable One / Viacom Controversy


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I can not believe I am talking about another carriage dispute with Cable One once again.  Last March, Cable One and AMC Networks had a dispute and it almost pulled AMC and The Walking Dead off the air.  Last October, Cable One had a dispute with Turner Broadcasting and we were left without any Turner Networks for about a month.  And now, Cable One is in a dispute with Viacom.  That’s the third dispute, in one year!  Sure, every cable/satellite carrier might have a dispute here and there with a provider.  But I don’t think a cable/satellite has had three disputes in one year!  Has that ever happened before?

As I am writing this post, all of the Viacom channels have been pulled off from Cable One.  I was watching @Midnight, and it was taken off during the middle of the show!  Cable One sure does know how to make people upset.  Cable One has said that Viacom is still asking for a rate increase greater than 100% to continue carrying all 15 of their networks, even though the ratings are down since 2010 on 12 of their networks.  They have said this with Turner and AMC as well.  They also asked Viacom to allow them to carry just the channels some of you really watch, and the rate they demanded was even higher.  That means they would have to pay more, for fewer channels.

Cable One has said they have received feedback from their customers and the customers don’t want to pay more for networks that they are watching less.  So, since Cable One has taken off all of the Viacom channels, they are replacing the channels with ones customers have demanded, including BBC America, Sprout, Investigation Discovery, the Blaze, Hallmark Channel, National Geographic, TV One, Sundance, and others.  My first question, when the Viacom dispute ends and their channels come back, which will eventually happen, unless Cable One wants to lose most of their customers, will these channels disappear, or will they stay in the lineup?  If Cable One brings in the Blaze, and then removes it when Nick comes back, this will make many people angry, especially here in Alabama.

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On the other end, Viacom has said that Cable ONE has refused to negotiate with them and are choosing to drop your channels rather than productively work to reach a deal.  They have offered Cable ONE – at no additional cost – new channels, more on demand content, and access to content beyond the TV (including websites and apps).  Here is the kicker, Viacom says that Cable ONE pays a lot of money to networks that carry sports.  On its website, Cable ONE admits that “sports networks account for 75% of all network fees,” yet receives small viewership.  So, who is right, and who is telling a big fat lie.  Judging by the problems with this cable company, I think you know where I lay the blame.

I have two big issues with Viacom and this is something Cable One should be talking about.  One, Viacom is having disputes with many smaller cable companies.  I can tell by just looking through the Twitter feeds.  Apparently Viacom is trying to rip off the smaller cable companies, I hope that is not true.  Two, Viacom has been slowly adding more and more commercials to their networks.  For example, on TV Land, sometimes Viacom will time-shift their programming and add extra time to a TV show, and add in more commercials.  Here is a screen shot of the TV Guide.  Seriously, who wants to watch nine more minutes of commercials in a Bonanza episode?

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And things could not be better for Cable One.  They have a monthly bandwidth cap on their internet usage.  It used to be 50 GB, now it’s 300 GB.  That means people who wants to cut the cord can’t do it, unless they want to pay a lot of extra fees.  And since we live too far away from Birmingham, we can’t pick up the local stations on antenna.  And I live in an apartment complex, and the landlord won’t allow anyone to have a satellite.  And AT&T Uverse is not offered where we live.  That means I am stuck with Cable One, whether I like it or not.  With Anniston being one of the worst cities in America for unemployment, and me being unemployed for over two years now, maybe it’s time I moved out of Anniston, there’s a thought!

After this latest dispute, and the others in the last year.  I am starting to wonder what is wrong with Cable One?  No other cable companies like Charter, Comcast, Cox, and others are having problems with their providers.  Yes, Time Warner did have a dispute with CBS last year, but that was only one dispute.  Not three in one year like Cable One has had.  So here is my message to the executives at Cable One, grow up!  Seriously, three disputes in one year, Cable One needs some better negotiators.  All this is doing for Cable One is making people angry, and it results in less subscribers.  I have talked to the DirecTV and Dish Network operators here in Anniston, and they have said they are seeing a record amount of people switching to satellite, because Cable One is an unreliable company.

Even AT&T and their Uverse is seeing a record amount of people subscribing here in town.  All because Cable One keeps having problems with their service.  All while our bills keeps going up and up.  I have friends who have gotten tired of the shenanigans from Cable One and have switched their TV and internet to AT&T, and they say their service is far better than what Cable One offers.  I even have friends and PR people from other TV networks, who sends me stuff about upcoming TV shows.  And they have said they sometimes have problems with Cable One.  Cable One, it’s time to bite the bullet and pay for the channels and take the difference out of your profits instead of passing the buck to the customer!

I wish Calhoun County and the cities of Anniston, Oxford, Jacksonville, and Weaver would have the guts to kick out Cable One and bring in another cable provider who would stop these carriage disputes.  If that does not happen, Calhoun County will soon become one of the top counties in the nation for the amount of people with satellite or AT&T.  Because our cable system sucks!  What is next for Cable One, not carrying the SEC Network when it launches in August and angering everybody because they can’t see Alabama or Auburn football on TV?  I bet that will be the next controversy with Cable One.

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46 replies »

  1. I’ll be honest with you, losing Viacom doesn’t bother me at all. I watch exactly one show on exactly one of their channels… and I can just as easily stream that show from Spike’s website. Did anyone tell you that when CableOne tried to negotiate for just the channels that people actually watch (Spike, Nick, Nick Jr., TV Land, and one or two others), that Viacom wanted MORE money than for the entire bundle? That’s just plain greedy. “So let me get this straight… we have to pay three times as much for one-third as many channels? Sounds fair… NOT!”

    At least you did point out that Viacom HAS been padding their episodes to add more commercials (for several years now), and that they have been trying to demand HUGE hikes from hundreds of small cable providers. If I didn’t know better, it sounds to me like Viacom is financially circling the drain, and they’re getting desperate. I admit that I’d love to be able to choose – and be billed for – ONLY the channels I actually WATCH. If I could, I’d have more than 50% of the channels removed from my package, simply because I *never* watch them. It really is time for the “bundling” to end, both from the cable providers AND the networks.

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  2. You know Viacom will soon take away the ability to watch shows on their website from Cable One internet customers, Turner did this last Fall during that dispute. My point with this article, this is the third dispute in one year with Cable One, no body else has had this many disputes in a one year period. Yeah, Viacom is a little greedy here, but many people are very upset about this on Twitter and Facebook, I don’t think this will last long like the Turner outages.

    Sadly you will never see an option for choosing only the channels you want to see, no cable company will ever do that. If things don’t change however, cable will become a thing of the past and it will be internet only, I guess this is where things are heading. Thanks for commenting!

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  3. As a cable one customer I’m pretty tired of these outages and will only give them a couple of weeks till I switch to direct TV cause I’m tired of their disputes

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  4. Cableone doesnt charge any extra fees if you go over the bandwith cap its just a data guideline. all they do is send you a letter saying watch your usage next month lol

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  5. Yeah, DirecTV and Dish Network salespeople are actually now in Wal-Mart trying to encourage people to switch. They are getting a lot of customers, thanks for commenting!

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  6. If you go over sometimes, nothing happens except a letter like you said. But if you constantly go over the cap, fees could start kicking in, and they actually can shut off the internet. If Cable One did not do the internet caps, I bet you would see more people cutting the cord. Thanks for commenting!

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  7. I’m happy with this because I never watch the Viacom channels and it benefits my whole family. I’m very excited about the addition of BBC America and my brother is very happy about them adding FOX Sports 1 to the basic package, he’s a very big NASCAR and baseball fan. My mom loves watching “The Waltons” and now she can watch it even more now thanks to Cable ONE for adding the Hallmark Channel in a TV Land’s spot. It benefits everyone on my end!

    I also wrote an article about the Cable ONE vs. Viacom dispute. You can check it out at becktechblogger.wordpress.com. Feel free to comment and share your opinion on the article as well!

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  8. I read your article, one question, is your bill going to go down? It costs a lot less to carry BBC America and the other channels. I also wanted to share this comment from our Facebook page that should interest you.

    I work for Charter communications in Piedmont, Al. I can’t believe how few channels Cable one offers in Calhoun county. I now live in the cable one market. What cable one offers compared to Charter is laughable. Charter offers a heck of a lot more channels in standard and HD plus Charter offers on demand at no extra charge. Blows my mind how cable one has so few things to offer.

    If other providers like Charter, Comcast, Time Warner, Bright House, Verizon, Cox, can provide more channels for about the same price of Cable One, then what is wrong. And what will be the next contract dispute for Cable One, Discovery Communications, FOX, Scripps Networks? If Cable One removed all of the Discovery Networks or Food Network, would that leave you happy? Just some questions you need to ask yourself.

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  9. Well there is no extra charge for new channels such as BBC America and FOX Sports 1. Personally I don’t like the Discovery networks and Food Network. However with that said, I don’t mind them being there because most of the channels I like I have and the replacements for those channels if they were taken down most likely would not amuse me because there are very few “tech” based channels which is my primary interest.

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  10. I agree with you, I wish there was more tech based channels, Tech TV was that channel. But low ratings ended that and brought us the G4 debacle. Thankfully, the internet and YouTube is filled with lots of tech based content. Cable One can not continue to have these carriage disputes that takes away the channels customers cares about the most while replacing them with channels people don’t care about, it will mean the death of Cable One. Because most customers will move on to Uverse or Satellite.

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  11. This is yet very true unfortunately. I know a lot of people care about Comedy Central and MTV and are sad to see them being removed. Although it’s not all Cable ONE’s fault though because Viacom is charging way to much for their channels and services.

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  12. Don’t know about that, the National Cable Television Cooperative, of which Cable One is a member, has reached a deal with Viacom, and all small cable operators are still carrying Viacom channels, except Cable One. You also do realize that Cable One is the only major cable provider that does not that doesn’t offer video on demand and online streaming services. If I was on Uverse, Charter, or Comcast for example, I could watch a NBC show on demand. The technology is there, Cable One does not want to offer it.

    Either way, I don’t think this dispute will last much longer. I bet by the end of April, some deal will be reached, and most of the Viacom channels will be back on Cable One. If not, many Cable One customers will be jumping ship. You need to type Cable One on Twitter or go to the Cable One Facebook page and read the comments, interesting to say the least.

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  13. I’ve read a lot of them already on Twitter, I’m not on Facebook. I don’t mind not having video on demand, that’s why I have my Netflix. If this Viacom outage lasted until the summer I honestly wouldn’t mind, just give me my BBC America!

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  14. Cable One should have offered BBC America long before the Viacom dispute. My only worry, if the Viacom channels come back, which I think will happen. Will BBC America stay, or be removed? I hope it stays!

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  15. Sadly this is true. I don’t even like hardly any of the stuff carried on the Viacom channels. It will probably comeback eventually though.

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  16. I am willing to bet the Viacom channels will be back sooner or later. Even if the Viacom channels come back, at BBC America is here to stay, I wish it was offered in HD though.

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  17. It will eventually I bet. It just takes them a little while to make and get the HD channels. I’m just excited to be able to watch Doctor Who more often now.

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  18. By the way, BREAKING NEWS: BBC America has now made it official by tweeting that the new Cable ONE BBC America channel has been launched!

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  19. Why? I don’t watch most of the stuff on the standard cable package, why would I upgrade to pay for one channel I’ll watch.

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  20. That’s Cable One for you. I don’t like paying the extra $12, but I have several TV networks who wants me to review their shows, and it’s only available on their Digital Value Pack.

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  21. They come to me! My Alexa ranking for Geek Alabama is around 121,000 worldwide out of about 30 million websites. Welcome to one of the top 1% of websites in the world!

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  22. Well I’ve just started my blog, it’s about a month and a half that I’ve “owned” it. I want to be a writer for my primary profession someday (I’m only 17 years old) and I thought this would be a good way to get started.

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  23. It’s good to get blogging, it will take time to get as popular as I am, I have been blogging since August 2011. If you get a chance, I would get a custom domain instead of using the standard .wordpress.com domain. Just keep at it!

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  24. It’s only $18 a year. Well worth it! Especially if you want more people to discover you. Websites with a custom domain rank better and higher on Google and Bing.

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  25. Hey my man! Just happened to stumble upon your site b/c I was just searching & seeing what different people were saying about the whole CableOne/Viacom b/s! Then as I was reading your piece & agreeing with it as I went along, you started mentioning your whereabouts. I didn’t pay attention to the name of the site until then & was more enthused to read more, as I to am from “Good Ol Bamma’! From weaver to be precise, but take that as you will. It’s great to finally be reading articles from those in my own area & really knowing what their talking about! Being a Geek is only a + if you ask me. Ok that said, to the meat & taters of it. Honestly I could care less of those “program” channels being removed as in my opinion, brain cells will be saved b/c of it & they’ve been destroying the youths everywhere for a very long time. (MTV & the likes) Don’t get me wrong, I love music…not to offend, but as long as it’s not Country, we can kick it! I’m from the GNR, Metallica, LL Cool J….ect type of cat’s days & much more. But I’m sure most can agree with me when I say, that’s when it was the definition of their Brand Name…Music Television, that now has began & Unfortunately spread this disease across the entire spectrum of our “Entertainment” but should be redefined as “Distraction” TV! That is “Reality TV” that if most would step back & actually pay attention, is anything but “Reality”! They say Music usually reflects Society or whats happening in the country & this I’d say used to be True to an extent. But MTV & the sorts @ some point switched & began dictating whats released & when & now who do you have your younger ones listening to but the likes of Lady GaGa, Nicki Minaj & the likes topping the charts. Really? People no longer are Conscience of Lyrics & the meaning of Words I suppose, whether you say it’s you just expressing your Art or not, those Words & phrases have meanings that apparently your Art represents it. I’d think Marilyn Manson would be pissed about now! And don’t get me on the provided MSM NEWS where we’re suppose to get information that affects our very lives on a daily basis, that’s ever increasingly (TV’s displaying them) being put into many Businesses with many employees (ex. Bynum, Parker Hannifin, Federal Mogul) so you can get informed on your breaks. & lunches instead of relaxing. Dang, sorry for going on & on & apparently a detour from the subject, but instead of just saying the channels, I felt to give reasoning 4 it. That’s the main thing that’s changed the last 10-15yrs is plenty of content that’ll drown you, but what of substance, detail, background? Oh, we don’t have time for that…They say, not us. You wonder why so many know a lot, but on what they know, can’t carry on more than a 5min conversation on it, b/c they don’t know, only repeat! Anyways, bottom line, the thing I’m upset with about the issue, is they took mainly the 1 channel I do distract myself with & it’s name is fitting for that very reason & it’s Comedy Central. I’ve read elsewhere someone wrote, take away CC & Viacom will start bitching soon about an increase in Piracy! I couldn’t agree more with an appropriate statement, where you think I’m gonna get my fix of comedy & The Daily Show & Colbert Report? Hmmm. Only 2X I’ve gotten upset about taking content away & thats now with Comedy Central (care less 4 the Rest) & the other that I noticed someone else mention & thats the Old Tech TV, that I really loved & got me enjoying Tech & fixing my own CPU’s & mosts around me, then it died when they put in G4 TV, which sucked! It’s awesome to know tho that ALL of them from Tech Tv & Call 4 Help have went on 2B pretty successful, being Leo, Sarah & others have a consortium of YouTube Channels that are pretty much a Conglomerate & where you can learn so very much, just as you did on Tech TV, then you have Kevin, that’s awesome & showed you the more sinister side of the Net & what you can actually do with a computer that you wouldn’t thinks possible! Hacking….He went on to create (geeks will appreciate) Slashdot, that started B4 most of these other consortium type News/Tech/Entertainment style Blogs/Websites did, that I feel a lot have developed their platforms off of. I feel those of a Tech/Geek dabbling know I can’t possibly 4get Call 4 Help’s Chris Pirillo the LockerGnome! It’s sad to think they took this very talented & brilliant group where you were actually taught something of value & substance anytime you tuned in that directly benefited the viewers directly & replaced them all with G4TV that other than Gaming, did the exact opposite! So other than missing C.C. I won’t even notice they took the others, but Viacom will, when looking @ ratings b/c we’ve been taught to like this type of Dumb u Down “Programming” Hint..Hint. A word about your mentioning the Internet Service, which for the 1st time ever since upgrading to 50mb service about months ago, I was an extreme critic 4 years. Reason being most everyone I know with it & the vast online reading of it, I so luckily find myself graciously in the 1% of the 1% of the users of it. Meaning I test my speed all the time & I D/L considerably more than the avrg person does (that the rules are made 4) as my avrg anytime speed I would’ve thought based on my reading B4 upgrade would be anywhere between 25-40mb but I avrg from EVERYTIME 48-53mb!! Believe me, based on my research, I’m extremely fortunate! They’ve finally made up for my yrs of issues. Regards to the 300GB per month, it’s somewhat true in some regards. Believe me, I’ve tested the vast many possible ways they keep eyes on your goings-on & data usage that the avrg person couldn’t begin to fathom! I worked for a good while on 3rd shift & D/L at many different times & amounts. There “Wording” vaguely says they have NO Data Cap, which is True, but when you reach the 300GB amount, they’ll start to Harass you to change to another tier of service! Most bow down & change, but you cannot be made to do so, so grow a backbone & stance. Believe me I know! The thing they don’t (only b/c they don’t promote it) mention is the Peak/Non Peak which Peak is 12pm afternoon till 12am midnight & Non Peak 12am to 12pm afternoon! The Non Peak you can D/L till your CPU quits as it doesn’t matter b/c they don’t keep a track on it, Only on Peak hrs do they count it to that (can’t be held to) 300GB a month, believe me I know. I continue to say this b/c B4 my upgrade I had Unlimited GB plan at a pathetic 6mb D/L speed & was averaging about 300GB a month but was so slow. When I talked to them about the upgrade, I kept the conversation limited to Peak/Non Peak & just by the couple of people I talked to, most don’t really know anything about it, only vaguely & the 2 I talked to kept telling me about all these different things & I had to continue to steer them back to the Peak/Non Peak, till they looked @ my account (just as I thought they would) they would mention that, well I see for the past 4-5 months you’ve reached your 300GB & a few 350-400 & I would reply, you notice I wasn’t charged overage fee? We then found that it wasn’t unlimited as I was told, it just happened most was on Non Peak hours! Then I told them, thats my 1 & Only question I have about the upgrade, was “Would it be the same”? I was told yes & the rest is History. Just to bragg a bit, since getting it , the past 8-9months I’ve averaged 525-750GB a month & not 1 mention of it what so ever! It’s b/c that Majority of it’s from Midnight to 12 in the afternoon b/c most all businesses aren’t open & using the bandwidth, but are from 12 in the afternoon till midnight! This is what they gloss over & don’t explain to you! Whether It was during that time or if it were Peak, they couldn’t Legally charge me for it b/c is’t not “Worded” in that manner in the agreement, so they result to exploit everyones ignorance of the contract & harass you to change tiers if you keep reaching the 300GB a month, believe me I know! Just to tell ya, I D/L & keep archives of Terabytes of different shows, News, History that I find in YouTube b/c the majority are each 1hr+ not county the countless hrs of CSPAN hearings & programs, b/c 1 day we won’t have these things which inform us & that’s why my usage is so high, but will go up now they took my CC from me! Terribly sorry for anyone who might feel I went on for days on in, but I hope to maybe some, this might have been informative on many levels & might have learned something in the process of reading it, either way, I like your site & it’s cool we’re from the same area, with that……Everyone I hope becomes more enlightened upon their journey we all walk in this existence of life!

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  26. What a long and interesting read! Yeah, most people are upset about Comedy Central and Nick being taken away the most. These days, if you want any tech news and insight, you have to go to the internet like Geek Alabama and other blogs, plus YouTube. Tech TV or anything like that will sadly never be on TV ever again. Thanks for the long comment!

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