After five months of what appears to have been fairly contentious negotiations, Suddenlink Communications has come to an inevitable conclusion: It really, really doesn’t want its MTV. And neither do its customers.
Negotiations between the small market operator and the parent of MTV, Comedy Central, BET, Nickelodeon and VH1 have reached an impasse and as of midnight tonight Viacom’s 24 networks will go dark to Suddenlink’s 1.1 million video subscribers. Both sides have cast blame on the other for the impasse. Viacom, in a statement, said it had agreed to accept a previous Suddenlink proposal, which the cable operator later rejected because it didn’t have enough bandwidth, a possible allusion to not having enough additional channel capacity after it had already agreed to sign on dozens of additional replacement networks.
“Suddenlink took the unprecedented step of rejecting its own proposal and informed Viacom that it will drop our networks tonight when our deal expires,” Viacom said in a statement. “Suddenlink claimed to Viacom that it had created bandwidth issues that it is unable to remedy. Inexplicably, Suddenlink has backed itself into a corner and is now unable to accept its own final proposal.”