ImOn dropping 15 Viacom channels

Cites impact of higher cost on cable rates

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April 11, 2014 | 2:03 pm

ImOn Communications will soon begin phasing out 15 channels of programming from Viacom Networks after deciding it cannot accept the company’s financial terms to continue carrying its programming.

In a letter to ImOn customers, President and CEO Patrice Carroll said Viacom demanded two price increases over the next seven months totaling over a 50 percent increase.

“That is 40 times the rate of inflation and inconsistent with significant declines in Nielson ratings of Viacom’s most popular channels MTV, Nickelodeon, and Comedy Central,” Carroll said. “This is not an increase that ImOn can absorb nor is it an increase that I want to pass on to you.

“An overwhelming majority (88 percent) of you advised us, through a recent survey, to drop the Viacom channels if keeping them forced ImOn to increase prices.”

The Viacom channels that ImOn is dropping include BET, Centric, CMT, Comedy Central, MTV, MTV Hits, MTV2, Nick Jr., Nickelodeon, Nicktoons, Spike, Teen Nick, TV Land, VH1 and VH1 Classics.

“I realize that some of you will be disappointed and I regret the disruption this may cause, especially for families with children,” Carroll said. The company will discontinue roughly five channels at a time.

ImOn will replace the Viacom channels with new programming. The channels include FXX, National Geographic Wild, Chiller, The Blaze, Hallmark Movie Channel, RFD-TV, MavTV, PixL and Comedy TV.

ImOn also will be adding high definition channels, including Science HD, Destination America HD, Oxygen HD, FXX HD, Golf HD and National Geographic Wild HD.

Carroll noted that the decision to discontinue Viacom programming has been made by other cable TV providers, including Cedar Falls Utilities and Cable One.

Jeff Janssen, ImOn vice president of sales and marketing, said ImOn is facing renewal negotiations this year with ESPN/Disney, Discovery and Scripps in addition to retransmission agreements with KCRG-TV9 and KWWL. Janssen said the company needs to take into account all of the potential increases in content cost and the impact on subscriber rates.

The Gazette Co., owner of KCRG-TV9 and The Gazette, is an investor in Imon Communications.

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