Innovative reaches agreement with Viacom to keep popular channels

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ST. THOMAS - Innovative and Viacom reached an agreement on a new contract on Wednesday, eliminating the threat of losing 17 popular cable channels in the territory, including MTV, VHI, Comedy Central and BET.

Viacom since Monday had been threatening to cut the local cable provider's access to Viacom channels because Innovative refused to pay a hefty bump-up in fees in a new contract.

While neither Innovative nor Viacom will release the details of the new contract, which replaced the old one as of Tuesday, Innovative officials said that they now are OK with the new terms.

The National Cable Telecommunications Cooperative, a national not-for-profit cable TV cooperative that negotiates programming fees for Innovative Cable TV, helped the parties reach the agreement, according to Innovative spokeswoman Willa Fils.

Subscribers, though they should have continued to receive all of their channels during the negotiations in the last few days, may have seen scrolling notices that they may lose their Viacom channels, a tactic that Viacom uses each time it renews a contract with Innovative, Fils said. Those messages should no longer be appearing, she said.

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