FPB Approves Viacom Deal

After weeks of negotiations, the Directors of the Frankfort Plant Board agreed to terms with Viacom and will keep the 18 Viacom owned channels on the FPB Cable lineup.

The National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC) represented FPB and approximately 800 other cable providers and their over 5 million subscribers. Viacom originally asked the NCTC members for a 100% increase. After tense negotiations and multiple deadline extensions, a deal was reached for an increase of just under 35%.

Terms were made available to the FPB Board of Directors late last week and Wednesday, April 9, the Board held a special meeting to vote on the agreement.

During the special Board meeting, a public hearing was scheduled for the regularly scheduled meeting of the Directors on May 20, 2014 to discuss a modest, potential cable rate increase. This increase would be a partial pass through to customers as a result of the Viacom increase.

FPB Board Chairman Ralph Ludwig said the increase to the customers is unfortunate, but an unavoidable cost in this day and age of cable TV. “A few large companies own a majority of the cable networks and this structure makes it difficult to avoid these increases. The media companies hold all of the cards.” Ludwig continued, “FPB, being a not for profit, municipal utility, is able to pass along less of an increase than most providers. We hoped that the increase from Viacom would be smaller, but the NCTC was able to get the price to a lower level.”

Viacom owns many popular networks including Comedy Central, MTV, BET, VH-1 and TV Land, but Board members heard from many customers that wanted one channel in particular. “Nickelodeon is one of the most popular channels in our lineup and many customers voiced their concern over potentially losing this programming that is tops for kids. We are glad it is still part of the FPB lineup” said Ludwig.

During negotiations, FPB customers were kept informed through a special website created by the NCTC. TVOnMySide.com was linked from FPB’s website and had regular updates and information.

Ludwig made this final comment about FPB and the NCTC, “We want our customers to know that we negotiate these contracts with them in mind:  our goal is to secure the programming at the most reasonable cost.”