Cablevision Sues Viacom in Fee Faux Pas

Some TV packages just don’t deliver

Two months after reaching an agreement, it looks like there’s already trouble in paradise.  Cablevision and Viacom are going to court over a packaging of low rated networks.  The issue here is obtaining access to juggernauts ratings such as Nickelodeon, MTV, and Comedy Central.  Cablevision must also support up to a dozen lesser-watched channels which hurt their overall brand.  The antitrust lawsuit could be a landmark decision going forward to monitor the way cable providers reach terms for packaged channels.  The case was filed in New York, stemming from a mutual contract agreed to over the winter.

Reports state that Cablevision pays almost $40 million for 14 channels that they would prefer not to carry as part of their service.  James Dolan, the CEO of Cablevision, has played hardball in the past by simply dropping channels in favor of paying a penalty.  Pundits predict that this legal battle will go on for quite a while, seeing as further negotiations will not have an impact.  Viacom themselves are familiar with similar situations, DirecTV blacked out a few of their channels to 20 million customers over a week-and-a-half period.  The current antitrust lawsuit has not yet been made available to the public, so many of the finer details remain a mystery.

In simpler terms, Cablevision is suing Viacom in protest of a deal they themselves agreed to?  That doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense.  Seeing as Cablevision is paying around $76.8 million to Viacom, I understand the fact that they’re upset.  For a business, it makes perfect sense.  However, James Dolan has not made himself a friend to anyone he has done business with in the past.  He’s notorious for letting everyone else suffer as long as he can gain from it.  I’m sure this lawsuit will go on for quite a long time.  Luckily, I don’t have Cablevision anymore.

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