Feb 26 New York-based cable operator Cablevision
Systems Corp filed an antitrust lawsuit on Tuesday
alleging that Viacom Inc forced it to pay for 14 cable
networks it did not want as a condition of carrying the media
company's more popular channels such as Nickelodeon, MTV and
The case is the latest flare up in the contentious
relationships between distributors and program makers as the Pay
TV industry's growth appears to have peaked. Viacom and its
media company rivals regularly sell bundles of cable channels to
operators as a common practice.
"Viacom effectively forces Cablevision's customers to pay
for and receive little-watched channels in order to get the
channels they actually want," Cablevision said in a statement.
The case is under seal and not available for public viewing.
A spokesman for Viacom did not immediately respond to a
request for a comment on the lawsuit.
Cablevision is seeking to have its latest carriage agreement
with Viacom voided and it also wants Viacom banned from making
similar deals involving networks it calls "ancillary."
Cablevision says these less popular channels include CMT, MTV
Hits, Nick Jr, Nicktoons, Palladia and VH1 Classic.
Last summer, Viacom blacked out its networks from the
biggest U.S. satellite provider, DirecTV in 20 million
homes for nine full days, marking the most high profile
programming blackout to date. Cablevision competitor Time Warner
Cable Inc has also complained about carrying low-rated
networks and has dropped channels such as the arts-focused
The case is Cablevision Systems Corporation, et al., v.
Viacom International Inc, et al., U.S. District Court, Southern
District of New York, 13-1278.