In 2015, Viya Cable TV, formerly Innovative Cable TV, entered into negotiations with Lilly Broadcasting, the new CBS affiliate in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Due to the nature of this new relationship, retransmission fees that were not in place before were charged to the Cable TV operator. At the time, the company negotiated in a manner that ensured that customers received the best possible value for their service and allowed them to continue viewing award-winning programming on the “Most Watched Network.”
While Viya’s goal has always been to minimize additional programming costs that must be passed on to consumers, Lilly Broadcasting is requesting a 300 percent rate increase for the same programming on four channels that customers are currently viewing. In comparison, the average annual rate increase per channel is generally 8 percent. Such an exorbitant and unprecedented increase in programming fees would have to be passed on to Viya’s subscribers and the company is working diligently to negotiate a more reasonable outcome.
These negotiations affect the following four channels:
• CBS – Channels 2 (SD) and 502 (HD)
• CW- Channels 5 and 505
• ABC- Channels 6 and 506
• One Caribbean TV– Channels 24 and 524
All of the channels are a part of the Lilly Broadcasting group and on the Basic Lifeline tier, the most affordable package on the Cable TV lineup. After a year of restoration for the company and the community, Viya Cable TV is facing the choice of either having the channels removed from the Cable TV lineup or instituting a significant rate increase in the near future.
Viya will continue to work diligently to negotiate a fair deal that will not place a burden on its subscribers and the community will be informed of the progress in these negotiations. It is important to note that while Viya continues to negotiate in good faith, Lilly Broadcasting continues to make explicit threats to remove all four channels on Jan. 1, 2019. The existing contract expires on Dec. 31, 2018.