Optimum Online’s TV service, Cablevision, and Viacom Inc. have finally settled their long-running lawsuit on channel bundling dispute, which was aimed at clarifying the demands of programmers about including all their channels in a pay TV package. Although the companies recently announced that they have resolved the issue, neither Viacom nor Cablevision has disclosed any details of the settlement.
Both the companies stated that they entered “mutually beneficial business arrangements,” but did not say whether the carriage agreement terms have changed or not. “We are pleased to have put these matters behind us in ways that benefit both of our companies and look forward to working together to benefit Cablevision’s customers,” Cablevision and Viacom said in a joint statement.
It has to be noted that the lawsuit was filed in the US District Court, New York, in 2013, and both Cablevision and Viacom reacted to the suit proactively, reaching a new distribution agreement quickly for Viacom Network channels. However, Cablevision argued that Viacom had forced them to include more than a few “weak” channels in order to be allowed to carry Viacom Network’s premium channels, including MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, and Comedy Central.
Reports say that Viacom prices their channel bundles in a way that provokes distributors to include all their channels in their packages. This is even true for programmers like Walt Disney and NBCUniversal. Nevertheless, small-scale cable providers always argued that it was more expensive to include a few premium channels than carrying the entire bundle.
With the growing popularity of streaming services, and pay TV providers involving in internet-based options, the steam on the matter gradually eluded. Where all the major providers in the industry are offering “skinny” bundles to lure in more subscribers, Viacom has always been more flexible in providing consumer-friendly deals. Besides that, the argument of carrying all the channels in a bundle just for a few main ones was also overshadowed with the news of Cablevision being acquired by Altice.