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Local News

April 2, 2014

Cable One pulls plug on 15 networks

DUNCAN — Duncan’s cable television provider on Tuesday stopped showing CMT, MTV, Nickelodeon and 12 other networks after it couldn’t reach a new agreement with Viacom.

Other networks removed from the Duncan cable TV menu are BET, Centric, Comedy Central, MTV2, MTV Hits, Nick Jr., Nick Teen, Nick Toons, Spike, TVLAND, VH-1 and VH-1 Classic.

Cable One has been Duncan’s cable television provider since 1996, when it took over the local cable franchise from TCI Cable, City Manager Jim Frieda said.

Its contract with the city doesn’t expire until 2021, he said.

City officials have no say in the dispute, Frieda added.

Cable One’s president, in a letter to subscribers, said Viacom’s “unrealistic demands” caused the TV programming change.

“Despite the fact that viewing is down on 12 of Viacom’s networks, some by as much as 30 percent since 2010, Viacom demanded an increase greater than 100 percent to carry all 15 of their channels,” Cable One President and CEO Tom Might said in a letter to Duncan subscribers.

“We asked for a price reduction because of their declining viewership and they refused. We also asked to drop the less popular networks and only carry the networks our customers really watch, and the rate they demanded was even higher. That means we would have to pay more for fewer channels.”

In place of Viacom network offerings, Cable One said it will add networks and expand the carriage of others, including BBC America, Sprout, The Blaze, Hallmark Channel, National Geographic, Investigation Discovery, TV One, Sundance and more.

The new networks and their channel locations in Duncan can be viewed today by visiting StopProgrammingHikes.com and selecting Duncan, Cable One said.

Cable One’s franchise agreement with the city pays Duncan 2 percent of its local gross revenues.

The Cable One manager in Duncan notified the city manager of the dispute on Monday, according to Frieda, who said he notified City Council members that they may receive frustrated calls from cable TV viewers.

Because Congress in 1985 removed local government regulatory authority over cable TV companies, Duncan officials are powerless to intervene in the programming dispute, Frieda said.

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