Viacom at odds with Time Warner

People leaving the Time Warner Center in New York City.

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You may not be able to click on SpongeBob, the Real World or, heaven forbid,
the Daily Show after midnight tonight. There's a big, ugly rift between Time Warner Cable and Viacom -- which owns among others Nickelodeon, MTV and Comedy Central. Marketplace's Steve Henn has more.


Steve Henn: Viacom says it deserves more money for its shows. It says it gets just 8 percent of programming fees from Time Warner, and brings in close to 20 percent of the cable company's audience. Time Warner says higher fees would cost millions and increase customers' cable bills.

If the two TV titans can't strike a deal by midnight tonight, Viacom's threatening to pull its programming. And Viacom's launching a multi-media ad blitz.

Announcer: Time Warner Cable has dropped your favorite channels and shows.

Cartoon: What?

Announcer: That means no Nickelodeon . . .

Cartoon: No!

Announcer: No MTV . . .

Teen: Really, really upset right now.

Announcer: No Comedy Central . . .

Stephen Colbert: Ahhhh, that makes me so angry.

Announcer: No Vh1, No Spike TV, no Noggin, no TV Land . . .

There's even a poster featuring Dora the Explorer in tears. The tag line: Why is Dora Crying? And the all of the Viacom adds offers a Time Warner telephone number encouraging viewers to complain.

In Washington, I'm Steve Henn for Marketplace.

About the author

Steve Henn was Marketplace’s technology and innovation reporter for the entire portfolio of Marketplace programs until December 2011.

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