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Arvig channels may go dark if contract dispute isn't resolved

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Arvig cable subscribers could lose popular Viacom channels, including MTV, Nickelodeon and TV Land, if a contract dispute isn’t resolved by March 31. 

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The Perham-based cable company pays programmers like Viacom a monthly per-channel fee. As contracts near expiration, new agreements are negotiated. This time, Viacom is insisting on an increase that is about 40 times the rate of inflation, according to a press release from Arvig. 

“Their demands are so excessive that we can’t accept the rate they are offering,” said David Pratt, Director of Video. Although he is restricted from disclosing specific numbers, Pratt explained, “It’s a little like paying $3.50 for gas one day, to see it rise to $6.00 the next day. It is just an outrageous hike for the same channels that you’re getting today.”

Arvig and about 800 other cable television providers are currently working to negotiate better rates for their customers. The hope is that Viacom will allow subscribers to continue viewing their channels while they negotiate (as most programmers do), but they may pull the signals or require Arvig to stop carriage of their channels until a final agreement is reached. 

Earlier this month, Arvig and other cable providers launched a website that explains how negotiations like this impact monthly cable bills. Customers can visit TVonMySide.com for up-to-date news on the Viacom dispute and other future negotiations.

The following channels could go dark on or after April 1: CMT, CMT Pure Country, Comedy Central, Logo TV, MTV, MTV Hits, MTV Jams, MTV2, Nick Jr., Nickelodeon, Nicktoons, Spike, Teen Nick, TV Land, VH1, VH1 Classic, VH1 Soul.

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