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cable300.jpg Submitted by WWAY on Wed, 12/31/2008 - 5:21pm.

Time Warner's contract with Viacom expires at the end of the year. If they can't reach a new agreement, it will mean no Spongebob or Dora the Explorer for 13 million viewers. Viacom wants fee increases from Time Warner for 19 channels that include Mtv, Comedy Central, and Nickelodeon. Customers are worried they'll pay for the fee increase. Hunter Ford, a Time Warner customer, said, “It should be a package deal. If you want to pay for a movie channel like HBO where you don't watch commercials that's the reason that you pay for them.” A Time Warner Cable spokesperson said the proposed increases of between twenty-two and thirty-six percent are exorbitant. Viacom said the increase would cost subscribers less than a quarter a month. Customers say it's not fair when they're put in the middle. Jason Scott, another Time Warner Cable customer said, “It's really the consumer that really sort of loses out. Tonight's New Year's Eve, there's going to be a lot of kids up, there's going to be no Nickelodeon, no Comedy Central, no Mtv. You know that pretty much just hurts the viewers.” Viacom ran an alert on their channels throughout the day to let the customers know of the impending Time Warner blackout. If the two companies cannot reach an agreement, 13 million people could be without some popular channels. Experts say it could be the beginning of some expensive channel surfing. Media analyst Larry Gerbrandt said, “This is just the tip of the iceberg. Everybody who is provided multi channel programming is facing the same negotiations and the same potential increase in license fees. All of it gets passed back to the consumer.”

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