Watching Viacom and Time Warner go at each other is like watching a divorced couple trying to push each others' buttons. But instead of alimony or child support, Viacom wants Time Warner to cough up more cash for its 20 channels, including MTV, Nickelodeon, and Comedy Central. If Time Warner doesn't agree, Viacom could pull all of its channels, and to drive the point home, the media conglomerate has taken out full page ads in Times and other publications showing Dora the Explorer crying because children won't be able to watch her show. Well played.
But if you think that's hitting below belt, Time Warner plans to fire back with what amounts to a slap in the face.
"We will be telling our customers exactly where they can go to see these programs online," said Alexander Dudley, a spokesman for Time Warner Cable. "We'll also be telling them how they can hook up their PCs to a television set."
Yes, this is the same Time Warner who has been testing out metered bandwidth in certain markets earlier in the year, and has been charging an overage fee for $1/GB in those test markets after a two month grace period. Now the cable company will be encouraging its subscribers to use more bandwidth by setting up HTPCs and logging into sites like Hulu.
At least, that's the plan for the time being. Something tells us we haven't heard the last of this dispute. But if Viacom and Time Warner do actually break up, just remember, it's not your fault.