Cincinnati Bell Advocates for Customers in Rate Dispute
March 26, 2014
CINCINNATI, Ohio – Cincinnati Bell is in negotiations with Viacom, owner of MTV Networks, to continue offering its channels. The company recently began notifying customers that its carriage of these networks could be at risk if a new agreement is not reached by March 31. Viacom could remove its channels from the Fioptics TV lineup to gain leverage in negotiations.
Cincinnati Bell is one of 800 companies represented by the National Cable Television Cooperative in the Viacom negotiations.
Cincinnati Bell Fioptics TV carries 18 Viacom/MTV Network channels, including MTV, Nickelodeon, TV Land, BET, VH1 and Comedy Central. In its most recent proposal, Viacom demanded a large increase in its fees, which already rank among the highest rates in the country.
"While we hope to maintain carriage of these networks during negotiations, we notified customers in an effort to be open about our discussions," said Michael Morrison, Director of Video and Entertainment Product Development at Cincinnati Bell. "We have established a new page on our website, www.cincinnatibell.com/viacom, to keep our community up to date on trends in programming costs, and we welcome customer feedback at this site.
"Across the country, networks are increasing their fees, which affect customers directly," added Morrison. "We want our customers to know that fees from all the networks we carry account for the bulk of their monthly Fioptics TV bills. Imagine pulling up to the gas pump and finding gas has gone from $3.50 a gallon to $6.00 - overnight. That's the scale of some of the network's proposed increases. Our goal is to protect our customers from these significant programming fee increases."
Cincinnati Bell pays programmers like Viacom a fee per channel per month per customer for programming. When these contracts near expiration, the companies meet to negotiate new agreements. "We frequently negotiate with networks to deliver the channels our customers want at a competitive price," said Morrison. "But when a multibillion dollar company like Viacom demands a significant increase in its monthly fees, we believe it's our responsibility to take a stand. These large increases impact all of us throughout Greater Cincinnati, and we want to make sure our customers know we are working on their behalf."
About Cincinnati Bell
With headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio, Cincinnati Bell Inc. (NYSE: CBB) provides integrated communications solutions including local and long distance voice, data, high-speed Internet, entertainment, and wireless services that keep residential and business customers in Greater Cincinnati and Dayton connected with each other and with the world. In addition, enterprise customers across the United States rely on CBTS, a wholly-owned subsidiary, for efficient, scalable office communications systems and end-to-end IT solutions. Cincinnati Bell is the majority owner of CyrusOne (NASDAQ: CONE), which provides best-in-class data center colocation services to enterprise customers through its facilities with fully redundant power and cooling solutions that are currently located in the Midwest, Texas, Arizona, London, and Singapore. For more information, please visit www.cincinnatibell.com.
Director, Corporate Communications