In February, OptiLink was notified of a programming increase of greater than 100% for the block of 20 channels we carry from Viacom. OptiLink is a member of NCTC which is a cable television cooperative through which we purchase the rights to carry certain cable programming. In NCTC’s negotiations with Viacom, NCTC asked Viacom to either reduce their rates since viewership is down on over half of the networks in question or to allow cable systems like OptiLink to drop some of their less popular networks. They refused both reasonable requests.
When we factored in the impact of that increase, we realized it could result in a significant increase to cable bills. So, we asked you, our customers, what you thought….through online and telephone surveys. When asked if you would rather drop the channels than increase your monthly cable rate, an overwhelming 86% of those who responded said “drop the channels.”
Based on the results of the negotiations with Viacom and customer input, OptiLink will replace these channels with similar, affordable programming over the next few weeks. The elimination of these 20 channels* will make room for 23 new channels – nine of which are free HD channels! Over the next few weeks, you will see new networks popping up like The Blaze, AXS TV HD, National Geographic HD, Animal Planet HD, Discovery HD, Disney HD, Aspire, Blues Highway, NuvoTV, Sprout, Comedy TV and Antenna TV.
To see our channel replacements, click here.
For frequently asked questions on this issue, click here.
* Viacom channels: VH-1, VH-1 Classic, VH-1 Soul, MTV, MTV2, MTV Jams, MTVU, CMT, CMT Pure, Palladia HD, Nickelodeon, Nicktoons TV, Nick Jr., Teen Nick, Nickelodeon 2 – West, Spike, Comedy Central, BET, TV Land & Tr3s.
WHAT OUR CUSTOMERS ARE SAYING:
When we performed online and telephone surveys of OptiLink TV customers regarding the major increase to Viacom channel rates, here is some of the feedback we got:
“The channels listed I do not watch, and I would not care if they were removed.”
“I watch Comedy Central from time to time, but all of the other channels are a complete waste of space. I’m so tired of programming monopolies continually raising prices while now enjoying revenue streams from other sources (commercials, streaming, dvd sales, etc.)”
“Removing these would not hurt my TV viewing”
“Thank you for keeping the rate the same.”
“Comedy Central is strong…….others are weak…shame you have to keep the others, but understand.”
“I view very few of these channels, so it will not bother me to drop those.”
“The cost isn’t worth it. Cancel your contract with them.”
“Most of the MTV channels are not really fit to watch. My vote is to remove them.”
“Thanks for asking. I believe in free enterprise, and I am sure you can find better quality programming somewhere maybe even at a better price.”
“Will cancel before I pay more for something I don’t want or use!”
“I am all for you removing them. I would like you to add THE BLAZE by Glen Beck.”
“Definitely eliminate these 20 channels. Very few people use them and I will not pay more for the very few to have these available.”
“Those channels are not worth more $ per month.”
“This programming does not affect us, and we are NOT willing to pay higher cost for our cable tv!”
“The goal for Optilink should be to find additional channels to help offset some of these for those who enjoy them. Raising rates should not be an option.”
“Palladia HD has been an overdue, welcomed addition to your line up. In the event that it is cancelled, could you please consider AXS TV (it’s an HD channel with a lot of music and concerts).”
“Thanks for your efforts to keep cost in line.”
“As long as you keep the Hallmark Channels, INSP, TCM, HUB, FoxNews, and the Weather Channel, I can deal with losing some other channels.”
“Excellent customer service… I understand everything is going up. I will not change anything in my service.”
”Why is there not a way to split some of these channels up? I like and watch a few BUT not willing to pay more just to watch one or two channels!!”
“This seems like a form of market bullying.”
“I have never watched any of these channels and never will. Please continue to try to keep rates as low as possible.”
“You don’t want to hear what my husband said for you to tell Viacom because it’s not nice. Please don’t raise our bill we are old and we don’t need these channels.”
“I would rather see you add GAC, Great American Country.”
“Thank you for getting your customers involved.”
“Thank you for asking my input. Don’t need Viacom at all!!”
“Get rid of these and add more HD channels like CNN-HD, National Geographic HD, and Discovery HD.”
“Since we don’t watch ANY of them, I certainly don’t want to pay extra for them! Thanks for asking.”
“Viacom is strong arming us…the consumer.”
“We do not like any of these channels and would prefer not to have them. Thank you for asking our opinion.”
“I would love to have The Blaze.”