Cablevision Systems has filed an antitrust lawsuit against Viacom for allegedly making the company carry 14 channels that it deems as “lesser watched” than the rest. Viacom doesn’t agree, however, stating that the channels are part of a contact signed two months ago, and that Cablevision is trying to alter that contract by going through the legal system.
The channels in question include the likes of VH1 Classic and Palladia, which Cablevision says are not watched much by its subscribers. In order for the provider to offer the channels customers do want, such as Comedy Central and Nickelodeon, it must carry the other, unwanted channels. As part of its legal efforts, Cablevision has stated that it wants access to MTV, MTV2, VH1, TV Land, Nickelodeon, BET, and Comedy Central without being forced to offer the ancillary networks.
Specifically, says Cablevision: “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.”
Viacom has a different way of looking at it, however, stating that it offers discounts for those who provide extra network distribution, and as such, the situation is “win-win and pro-consumer.” The company has stated that it will “vigorously defend” against the lawsuit, calling it an obvious attempt on Cablevision’s part to simply renegotiate a contract it had agreed to in December.