Wednesday, May 23, 2018
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Coalition of cable TV operators, including Buckeye CableSystem, settle with Viacom

A coalition of cable TV operators that includes Buckeye CableSystem settled negotiations Tuesday with Viacom Inc., a cable content provider that was seeking a new contract to continue supplying the cable operators with 22 channels, including popular offerings like Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, and MTV.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Judy Meyka, executive vice president for programming at the National Cable Television Cooperative, said Viacom is one of that 800-company coalition’s largest content providers.

"We are pleased to have reached an agreement that will provide opportunities for our members to distribute their content over multiple platforms," Ms. Meyka said in a joint statement announcing the agreement.

"We’re grateful to have reached an agreement with NCTC that will allow millions of viewers nationwide to continue to enjoy our programming," Denise Denson, Viacom’s executive vice president for content distribution and marketing, said in the same statement. "We commend NCTC for collaborating with Viacom to reach a fair deal that puts viewers first."

The two sides had been negotiating round-the-clock since early Monday to reach the agreement. A previous contract had expired Monday night, but Viacom allowed retransmitting of its networks’ signals to continue as a show of good faith because of how close to resolution the negotiations were at the time.

The 22 Viacom cable channels affected are BET, Centric, CMT, CMT Pure Country, Comedy Central, Logo TV, MTV, MTV2, mtvU, MTV Hits, MTV Jams, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., Nicktoons, Teen Nick, Palladia, Spike, TR3s, TV Land, VH1, VH1 Classic, and VH1 Soul.

Buckeye CableSystem carries most of those channels, but not all.

At issue was the monthly per-subscriber fee the cable operators pay Viacom to carry their channels. Viacom sought an increase in the monthly fee, while members of the cable cooperative argued that Viacom’s request was larger than justified by declining viewership of its channels.

In a statement issued before the settlement was reported, Viacom said its networks continued "to deliver more viewers than any other cable programmer, but cost far less to cable companies.”

Buckeye Cablesystem and The Blade are both owned by Block Communications Inc.

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