Charter, Viacom Settle Squabble

The two companies said Oct. 18 that they had an “agreement on principle”

Charter Communications and Viacom managed to hammer out a carriage deal last week that, despite the hype leading to the agreement, appears to have satisfied both parties’ biggest concerns.

Viacom and Charter said Oct. 18 that they had an “agreement in principle,” which averted a possible blackout of the channel to Charter’s 16.6 million customers across the country.

At press time the deal had not yet been finalized, but sources familiar with the agreement confirmed reports that Charter will carry eight Viacom networks on its most popular tier — five of the programmer’s core channels — and likely at a lower rate. Charter will carry Viacom’s 15 other channels in more expensive packages.

For Viacom, it was able to maintain customer levels for five of its six core outlets — MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, BET and The Paramount Network (Nick Jr., will be on a pricier tier) — as well as for VH1, TV Land and CMT.

In addition, the deal will not preclude Viacom from being part of a separate over-the-top offering later. Charter reportedly tried to prevent Viacom from offering its own OTT package (possible with Discovery and A+E Networks), a product of which Viacom CEO Bob Bakish has been a big backer. But as negotiations continued, Charter reportedly softened that position.