Ritter Communications is in negotiations with Viacom, owner of MTV Networks, to continue offering its channels, but believes the current proposal from Viacom would have costly repercussions for the company’s customers.
While Ritter is restricted from talking about specific rates, Viacom has demanded a rate increase that is 40 times the rate of inflation*.
For example, imagine pulling up to the gas pump and finding that gas has gone from $3.50 a gallon to $6 – overnight. That is the scale of some of these large increases. In addition, Viacom may demand Ritter drop its networks until the two companies are able to reach an agreement.
Ritter customers who want to learn more about this situation can visit www.TVOnMySide.com to become educated and informed on rising programming costs.
“Across the country, networks are substantially increasing their fees to cable companies, which affect customers directly, “ said David Adams, chief operating officer. “We want our customers to know that fees from these networks account for the bulk of monthly cable bills.”
Viacom owns networks carried in West Tennessee that include BET, Comedy Central, CMT, MTV, Nickelodeon, Spike TV, TV Land, VH1 Music First, CMT Pure Country, MTV Digital Suites, MTV Hits, MTV Jams, MTV2, Nick Jr., Nickelodeon Toons, TeenNick, Tr3s, VH1 Classic, VH1 Soul, Nick Too, Comedy Central HD, CMT HD, MTV HD, Nickelodeon HD, Spike TV HD and VH1 Music First HD.
“Today's entertainment marketplace is changing rapidly, and we have seen consolidation among major media companies,” said Adams. “These mergers allow large programming companies significant leverage over independent cable companies like Ritter.”
The company pays programmers such as Viacom a fee per channel, per month, per customer for its programming. When these contracts conclude, Ritter’s negotiates new agreements and that completes the business transaction.
“Unfortunately, when a multibillion dollar company such as Viacom demands an unprecedented increase in its monthly fees, we believe it’s our responsibility to take a stand,” said Adams. “These large increases impact all of us throughout northeast Arkansas and we want to make sure our customers know we are working on their behalf.”
Ritter urges customers to get the facts and be informed by visiting TVOnMySide.com.
* Source: 12-month period from January 2013 to January 2014, Bureau of Labor Statistics, released Feb. 20, 2014.