Viya announced Friday that it has concluded negotiations with Lilly Broadcasting, returning four channels to its cable lineup.
Jennifer Matarangas-King, vice president of public relations and governmental affairs for Viya, said in a press release that four channels, CBS, CW, ABC and One Caribbean TV, returned to the airwaves Thursday evening after a nearly two-week blackout.
“On January 4, 2019, Lilly Broadcasting interrupted the transmission of four channels to Viya Cable TV customers including CBS and ABC over a rate increase dispute. Throughout the process, Viya vigorously defended its customers against these and other significant programming rate increases, which will directly impact our customers,” according to the press release.
The statement noted that Viya CEO Geraldine Pitt said that “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. In the end, the Company felt that customer access to the aforementioned programming is too important and agreed to Lilly Broadcasting’s demands.”
Lilly Broadcasting Chief of Operations John Christianson could not be reached for comment Friday on the specific terms of the new contract.
Christianson said in previous conversations with The Daily News that the company pulled the channels after “Viya once again delayed the discussions” and the two parties could not reach an agreement.
Meanwhile, Matarangas-King said Viya had been “working in good faith” and “we do not see any justification for them to more than double their rates, which would require us to institute a significant rate increase for our subscribers.”
In the press release issued Friday, Viya encouraged its customers to contact Lilly Broadcasting at 814-454-5201 to share their objection to the rate increase.
Viya Cable TV customers can also anticipate a pro-rated bill credit, which will be based on the number of days and channels that were off-air, which will appear in the February billing cycle, according to the press release.