Viacom boss warns higher fees could kill independent networks, as Discovery looks to TV Everywhere payoff

Smaller start-up independent networks could find themselves on the outside looking in if a trend toward higher retransmission and affiliate fees for major networks continues, Philippe Dauman, chairman of major content provider Viacom (NYSE: VIA), said during a media conference.

While niche networks like Viacom's MTV will survive because they are part of a bigger package of programming, smaller, independent channels will be left in the cold, he said.

"Distributors are not receptive to new networks ideas coming in from an independent person," Dauman said. "Those independent networks that don't have an audience that cares about them may get dropped."

Almost as if to prove the point that programming costs will continue to spiral upwards, Discovery (Nasdaq: DISCA) CEO David Zaslav said programmers are more likely to negotiate for more money to provide content for TV Everywhere platforms when companies like Discovery have "a value discussion with cable operators."

For more:
- Multichannel News has this story
- Variety has this story

Related articles:
Comcast's Angelakis: Programming costs continue to be 'a challenge'
Consumer group: retransmission fees four times higher than inflation
Research: TV Everywhere will be (nearly) everywhere by mid-2011

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