(Mike Mozart)

Viacom Will Try Running Fewer Ads During Prime Time TV

Advertisers pay a lot to air commercials, and the price they pay is based on the projected popularity of the show being interrupted. When a TV network’s ratings are great, it might try to cash in by airing as many top-dollar ads as its viewers can take. But when ratings sag, that network has to contend with both annoyed viewers and shortchanged advertisers. That’s why, according to a new report, after years of cramming ads into every nook and cranny, media giant Viacom (MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon) is going to try shaving a few minutes of ads during prime time. [More]

(Studio d'Xavier)

Nickelodeon Announces Plans For Stand-Alone Subscription Service

If you’ve ever tried to withhold a tablet full of cartoons from the grasping clutches of a five-year-old intent on mainlining Dora the Explorer, then you know that children’s TV content is a pretty big deal. Often it’s the only thing that can prevent a total, shrieking, screaming, flailing and hysterical meltdown. Viacom will be trying to cash in on that need for kid fodder with a new stand-alone subscription service for Nickelodeon. [More]

(Stephen Depolo)

FCC Fines ESPN, Viacom $1.4M For Improper Use Of Emergency Alert Tones

Hearing the emergency alert warning tones blaring from your television typically makes you take immediate notice (and immediately hit the Mute button). So when a broadcaster allows a commercial or program to air similar sounds without an actual emergency occurring, they could be on the receiving end of a pretty big fine from federal regulators. [More]

(Mark Amsterdam)

Broadcasters Get Court To Stop Consumers From Seeing How Much Cable Companies Pay For Content

The FCC is currently mulling over whether to give its stamp of approval to two huge mergers — Comcast/Time Warner Cable and AT&T/DirecTV — and is intending to make information available to third parties about the deals that that these pay-TV giants make with broadcasters. But even though you and every other cable subscriber wants to know exactly how much Comcast pays for access to channels like ESPN, MTV, and the major networks, the broadcasters want that info kept under lock and key — and they’ve asked the court to stop it from possibly going public. [More]


Some Small Cable Companies Are Dropping TV, And Customers Don’t Seem To Mind

Plenty of people have cut back on pay TV — cable and satellite — and gone to internet-only subscriptions in order to save some cash. But the individual cord-cutters aren’t the only ones realizing how expensive programming can be, and how they can live without it in the broadband era. Some small-scale cable companies are also taking the plunge, and cutting out TV service altogether. [More]

(Plankton 4:20)

Sony’s Online Pay-TV Service To Launch With Channels You Might Actually Want To Watch

After what seemed like an eternity of news leaks, rumors, and promises of an online-only pay-TV service from Sony, the company has finally announced that it will indeed be launching that cloud-based service, and that it will start with a slate of channels including some that humans actually watch. [More]

Court Won’t Let Viacom Stop Cablevision’s Anti-Bundling Lawsuit

Court Won’t Let Viacom Stop Cablevision’s Anti-Bundling Lawsuit

Sick of being forced to accept Viacom’s massive bundle of barely watched cable channels — Palladia and MTV Hits, anyone? — just to get the handful that its subscribers want to watch (MTV, Comedy Central, BET, Nickelodeon), New York-based Cablevision sued Viacom in early 2013, alleging the broadcaster was violating federal antitrust laws. Viacom has since tried to have the case dismissed, but a U.S. District Court has ruled that the case can move forward. [More]

FCC To TV Companies: You Can’t Broadcast Emergency Alert Tones If It’s Not An Emergency

FCC To TV Companies: You Can’t Broadcast Emergency Alert Tones If It’s Not An Emergency

The thing about the Emergency Alert System is that it’s only supposed to be used to alert people when there’s an actual emergency. So anyone viewing the trailer for 2013’s Olympus Has Fallen might’ve been alarmed to hear those telltale tones along with “This is not a test” — at least until Gerard Butler’s face hits the screen. [More]

New Nickelodeon Channel Will Let Parents Customize TV Programming

New Nickelodeon Channel Will Let Parents Customize TV Programming

Streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime owe a good deal of their success to parents of young children, who love that they can dial up one of their kids’ favorite shows or movies instantly and without commercials. The folks at Viacom and Verizon are hoping to replicate some of that experience with a new customizable cable TV channel aimed at youngsters. [More]


Sony & Viacom Closing In On Deal To Make Networks’ Content Available Via The Internet

I’m no weathervane (or AM I?!?) but it seems the wind is shifting in the land of TV content and Internet streaming. Sony and Viacom are reportedly close to a deal that would allow network programs from MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and the like to be carried on a system Sony’s working on. [More]

Time Warner Cable CEO Warns Price Hikes May Come Back To Bite Industry On The Derriere

Time Warner Cable CEO Warns Price Hikes May Come Back To Bite Industry On The Derriere

Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn “Two Ns, Two Ts” Britt has been an outspoken critic on broadcasters who package desirable, high-viewership channels with niche-market offerings and tell cable companies to pay for them all or get access to none, which results in the cable providers passing these bundles (and the price tag) on to customers, many of whom only watch a handful of the hundreds of available channels. It’s a model, says Britt, that could have dire consequences. [More]

(Kitty & Kal-El)

Viacom Goes Running Into Amazon’s Streaming Arms After Split With Netflix

Now that Viacom and Netflix are over, done with, broken up, splitskies, never ever getting back together, don’t think  the cable programming giant is crying into its pillow every night, soaking it with the desperate tears of the unloved. No, it’s moving on — straight into the loving arms of Amazon’s streaming video service with a new, multiyear licensing deal. [More]


Verizon FiOS Wants The Fees It Pays Tied To How Many People Actually Watch A Channel

Seems like ever since Cablevision sued Viacom over its process of bundling less popular channels in with the ones people actually want, things have heating up in the pay-TV world. But instead of suing anyone, Verizon says it’s working on an entirely new model of TV programming: It wants to pay fees to media companies for their TV channels depending on how many people actually watch them. [More]

(Jackie Alpers)

Even If It Breaks Up Viacom Bundle, Cablevision Won’t Commit To A La Carte Cable

Earlier this week, Cablevision sued broadcasting biggie Viacom for its practice of requiring cable and satellite carriers to buy a wide range of channels — many of them with small audiences — in order to be able to air the few stations with mass appeal. But it doesn’t look like Cablevision is open to the idea of giving customers the same level of choice. [More]

Cablevision thinks it should not be made to pay for VH1 Classic and more than a dozen other Viacom channels.

Sick Of Being Forced To Pay For Channels No One Watches, Cablevision Sues Viacom

Among the biggest bones of contention in the now-frequent carriage fee disputes between broadcasters and cable/satellite companies is broadcasters’ insistence that carriers buy an entire bundle of channels just to get the one or two networks people actually watch. Today, Cablevision declared “Enough!” and filed suit against Viacom. [More]


Will Dish Be First Big Cable Company To Enter Internet-Only TV Race?

For the last few years, cable and satellite providers have been making more and more channels available for live streaming over the Internet. But you had to be a subscriber to a standard TV package in order to reap that added benefit. Now a new report claims that Dish is trying to convince some broadcasting biggies to join them as they dip their toes into the Internet-only pool. [More]

Showtime Ruins Last Scene Of 'Dexter' Finale As Soon As You Start Blu-Ray Disc

Showtime Ruins Last Scene Of 'Dexter' Finale As Soon As You Start Blu-Ray Disc

If you’re a fan of the TV program “Dexter,” you will remember that something rather important happened in the last thirty seconds of the last episode of the last season. If you’ve never watched “Dexter,” imagine an equally important scene in a television program that you do care about. Or game-winning points scored by your favorite team right at the buzzer. Now imagine that you sit down to watch after some delay. In the case of reader K., that viewing is on DVD. That pivotal scene is the first thing you see, part of a promotional clip for… the very DVD you’ve just sat down to watch. So they’re spoiling something you’ve just rented or purchased, assuming that anyone who buys the DVDs had already watched the last season or failed to avoid spoilers? [More]

Viacom & DirecTV Stop Squabbling Long Enough To Finally End Blackout

Viacom & DirecTV Stop Squabbling Long Enough To Finally End Blackout

A little more than a week into the epic contract battle between DirecTV and Viacom and a deal has finally been reached, despite Viacom’s statement on Wednesday that such an agreement wasn’t expected soon. The two companies kissed and made up early this morning, which means customers will now be reunited with their MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and VH1. [More]