Cablevision sues Viacom for forcing customers to pay for unwanted channels
Cablevision recently filed a federal lawsuit against the media giant, Viacom. The dispute is over the company forcing people to accept and pay for channels they do not want in the first place.
Cablevision Systems Corporations filed a federal lawsuit on February 26 against Viacom arguing that the media giant is forcing customers to pay for lesser channels that most do not want. Furthermore, they are forced to take the channels if they want to watch networks like Comedy Central. A few of the lesser channels forced on customers called out were networks like Nicktoons, CMT, Palladia and VH1 Classics to name a few.
The popular cable company says that these unwanted, lesser network channels are being forced on customers with what is referred to as ‘bundles’ by Viacom. They insist that this forced bundling of networks is illegal. In a public statement Cablevision said,
The manner in which Viacom sells its programming is illegal, anti-consumer, and wrong. 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.
Cablevision has also said that Viacom is violating antitrust laws by forcing these networks on customers. They have asked the court to enact a permanent injunction on Viacom, “barring Viacom from conditioning carriage of any or all of its core networks on Cablevision’s licensing any or all of Viacom’s ancillary networks.” They have also asked to be let go of an eleventh-hour licensing deal they signed with Viacom late last year as well.
Viacom caused a bit of a stir in the summer of 2012 when they blocked out their networks to the largest U.S. satellite TV provider, DirecTV. The blocked lasted for nearly 3 weeks before a deal was settled. To date it marks the biggest blackout from a major network provider.