Cablevision sues Viacom over bundling
February 26, 2013
Cable companies have long complained that cable network owners should not be able to leverage the popularity of their top networks by forcing MSOs to also carry their less-popular ones.
Viacom, for instance, shouldn’t be allowed to force MSOs to pick up VH1 Classic if they want to carry MTV.
Now at least one cable company is tired of simply complaining.
Today Cablevision filed a lawsuit in Manhattan federal court claiming that Viacom has “abused its market power over commercially critical networks, including must-have networks such as Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, and MTV, to coerce Cablevision into carrying the 14 far less popular ancillary channels.”
The suit claims that Viacom has employed coercion and threats to get its way and accuses the company of harming Cablevision and its customers. It says Viacom has violated anti-trust laws.
Cablevision wants its 2012 carriage deal with Viacom voided and “a requirement that Viacom permit Cablevision to carry the core networks and ancillary products on terms pending negotiation of a new, lawful agreement.”
Viacom has not yet responded to the suit.
Cablevision will undoubtedly hear support from other cable companies in its lawsuit. Time Warner Cable said last year that it will no longer carry smaller networks that it sees little demand for, and has already shed Ovation.
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