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Cablevision has filed a lawsuit against Viacom over forcing it to pay for channels that its subscribers rarely watch in order for it to get the company’s more popular channels.
According to Bloomberg, Cablevision complained about antitrust violations from Viacom. The court records are sealed, but Cablevision took its complaints public in a statement, claiming that if it wants to give its subscribers the popular Viacom channels like MTV or Comedy Central, it is forced to pay for 14 channels that its customers are not watching.
“The manner in which Viacom sells its programming is illegal, anticonsumer and wrong,” Cablevision said in its statement. “Viacom effectively forces Cablevision’s customers to pay for and receive little-watched channels in order to get the channels they actually want.”
The New York Times reports that Viacom has released its own statement, vowing to “vigorously defend this transparent attempt by Cablevision to use the courts to renegotiate our existing two-month-old agreement.”
Viacom said that it is standard practice to group small channels with the bigger ones and it doesn’t require providers to get these bundles. The company claims that it actually gives Cablevision and other providers a deal by suggesting that these channels be available together.
Viacom said it “long offered discounts to those who agree to provide additional network distribution” and other distributors see it as “a win-win and pro-consumer.”
This is just the latest “bundling” battle to go public. DirecTV battled with Viacom over the summer, while Dish Network argued with AMC Networks over forcing it to take the company’s low-rated networks.