Cablevision drops TV bundle lawsuit against Viacom

AP News
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Posted: Oct 16, 2015 5:08 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — Cablevision has dropped a two-year-old lawsuit against Viacom that accused the channel operator behind MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central of charging it exorbitant fees if it did not also carry less popular channels like Logo and Palladia.

The companies said in a joint statement Friday they had resolved the legal fight and were "entering into mutually beneficial business arrangements."

Cablevision Systems Corp., which has agreed to be bought by European telecoms giant Altice for $17.7 billion, argued in its March 2013 suit that Viacom Inc. abused its market power and coerced it into taking channels it didn't want.

While neither company would comment on the settlement, the new deal comes amid a broad ratings decline for traditional TV channels that has caused New York-based Viacom shares to fall 34 percent this year.

Bethpage, New York-based Cablevision continues to carry the full suite of Viacom channels, including the ones it complained about.

New products like Dish's Sling TV, which offer channels like ESPN and AMC for $20 a month, are pressuring cable companies to offer smaller bundles of channels that cost less to consumers. A typical cable TV bill has more than 100 channels and can cost several times as much as Sling's offer.