Cablevision Sues Viacom Over Channel Package Deal
Says packaging must-have with 'don't-want' channels violates antitrust
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 2/26/2013 11:48:01 AM
Cablevision Systems has taken legal aim at channel package deals.
The cable operator has filed an antitrust suit against Viacom in a Manhattan federal court for what it says is the programmers illegal forcing of the cable operators to carry 14 "lesser-watched" channels.
Viacom countered that Cablevision was just trying to renegotiate a two-month-old contract via the courts.
Cablevision says that its customers do not want networks such as Palladia, MTV Hits and VH1 Classic, but that it is forced to carry them in order to secure must-have nets like Nickelodeon, MTV and Comedy Central.
Cablevision wants a December 2012 carriage deal voided, "a permanent injunction barring Viacom from conditioning carriage of any or all of its Core networks on Cablevision's licensing any or all of Viacom's ancillary networks," as well as treble damages and legal fees.
"Viacom's conduct harms Cablevision and its customers, and impairs competition by making Cablevision pay for and carry networks that many subscribers do not want to watch, while other networks are excluded from distribution, preventing Cablevision from being able to differentiate its services and harming subscribers," Cablevision said in filing the suit.
Cablevision identifies the "core" networks as MTV, MTV2, Nickelodeon, VH1, Spike, TV Land, Comedy Central, and BET.
Viacom defended the policy, suggesting they were helping out cable operators and other distributors. "At the request of distributors, Viacom and other programmers have long offered discounts to those who agree to provide additional network distribution," the company said in a statement. "Many distributors take advantage of these win-win and pro-consumer arrangements. Reflecting the highly competitive cable programming business, these arrangements have been upheld by a number of federal courts and on appeal. Viacom will vigorously defend this transparent attempt by Cablevision to use the courts to renegotiate our existing two month old agreement."
DD - 2/27/2013 2:16:45 PM EST
It is about time one of the Cable Co's took on the networks over bundling. My bill keeps going up and the percent of channels I watch keeps going down. And doesn't Cablevision have a good track record in the courts? I am thinking network DVR's.
Jo King - 2/27/2013 9:47:31 AM EST
Hey Cablevision have you ASKED your customers what THEY want? MTV Hits is the only channel that has music videos 24/7, VH1 Classic is very popular.
MTV Hits Fan - 2/27/2013 12:18:59 AM EST
No related content found.
No Top Articles
Digital Rapids provides market-leading software and hardware solutions, technology and expertise for transforming live and on-demand video to reach wider audiences on the latest viewing platforms more efficiently, more effectively and more profitably. Empowering applications from..more