Cable carrier sues Viacom over being forced to buy channels no one likes
mong the biggest bones of contention in the now-frequent carriage fee disputes between broadcasters and cable/satellite companies is broadcasters’ insistence that carriers buy an entire bundle of channels just to get the one or two networks people actually watch. Today, Cablevision declared “Enough!” and filed suit against Viacom.
According to the suit, filed today in a federal court in New York City, if Cablevision wants to carry Viacom’s popular offerings — MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon — it’s it must also pay for more than a dozen smaller, niche networks like Palladia and MTV Hits. Regardless of whether subscribers ever watch these channels (and most of them don’t), the added cost for picking up all the channels in the bundle gets passed on to the customer in the form of higher rates.
“The manner in which Viacom sells its programming is illegal, anti-consumer, and wrong,” reads a statement from Cablevision. “Viacom effectively forces Cablevision’s customers to pay for and receive little-watched channels in order to get the channels they actually want. Viacom’s abuse of its market power is not only illegal, but also prevents Cablevision from delivering the programming that its customers want and that competes with Viacom’s less popular channels.”
Them’s fighting words.