Viacom: Cablevision’s Lawsuit Over Channel Bundling Should Be Thrown Out

Cable operator sued media giant in February, alleging it was illegally forcing MSO to carry little-watched channels

Viacom fired off a legal reply calling for a federal court to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Cablevision Systems, which sued the media company earlier this year alleging its bundling of unpopular channels was illegal.

“This suit is a transparent ploy by Cablevision to renegotiate its agreement with Viacom,” the media company said in a statement. “Its decisions to raise prices for consumers and reject carriage for smaller networks have nothing to do with its Viacom contract. Our suite offering provides consumers greater choice at lower cost.”

Cablevision responded in a statement that Viacom’s assertions are “predictable and do not change the fact that its all-or-nothing approach to selling programming is illegal and anti-consumer.”

Cablevision sued Viacom in February, claiming that the programming giant gave the MSO the choice of either carrying 14 little-watched channels — like VH1 Classic and MTV Hits — or paying a “penalty” of more than $1 billion for eight core channels (MTV, MTV2, Nickelodeon, VH1, Spike, TV Land, Comedy Central and BET).

“Viacom is using our customers as pawns in its game to limit choice and competition and, ultimately, it is the consumer who suffers the consequences of Viacom’s illegal actions,” the Bethpage, N.Y.-based cable op said in a statement.

The case is pending before the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

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