Off air since Jan. 4, CBS, CW, ABC and One Caribbean TV are back on Viya Cable TV in the U.S. Virgin Islands. According to Viya, Lilly Broadcasting imposed what Viya calls a severe rate increase for the CBS, ABC, CW and OCTV networks, nearly doubling their cost.
During two months of negotiations, Lilly Broadcasting refused to accept Viya’s counter offers, and on Friday, Jan. 4, Lilly shut off the channel feeds. Viya has acceded and brought the channels back.
“Despite Viya’s best efforts to protect Virgin Islands subscribers, Lilly Broadcasting who owns the right to transmit these signals in the USVI, insisted that Viya either pay the dramatic rate increases or not have the channels at all,” Viya Chief Executive Officer Geraldine Pitt said in a statement.
She said inn the end, the company felt that customer access to the aforementioned programming is too important and agreed to Lilly Broadcasting’s demands. The channels were restored 7 p.m. Thursday.
This is Lilly’s second recent cut-off of Virgin Islands pay TV viewers. Shortly after hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017, Lilly Broadcasting pulled its ABC and CBS feeds to satellite pay TV customers in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
“Most programmers increase fees every year and we have successfully negotiated reasonable increases from other providers. Viya continued to negotiate in good faith, but we were not able to avoid an immediate rate increase,” Pitt said. Viya Cable TV customers can also anticipate a pro-rated bill credit, which will be based on the number of days and the number of channels that were off the air. Customers can expect the credit to appear in the February billing cycle.
Viya asks subscribers to share their objection to Lilly’s decision to substantially increase rates for CBS, ABC, CW and OCTV by calling Lilly Broadcasting at (814)-454-5201.