Suddenlink Addresses Economics Of Bundling In Viacom Contract Renewal Dispute


Suddenlink,calling Viacom's offers "neither fair nor reasonable," apprised its subscribers about bundling in its latest update regarding its contract renewal negotiations with the content company.
The cable operator and the parent of such networks as Nickelodeon, MTV and Comedy Central face the expiration of their current deal at midnight on Jan. 1.
In the latest missive to customers on its Web site, Suddenlink again talked about Viacom seeking more than a 20% price increase for its portfolio of networks and the continued inclusion of movie service Epix in its proposals.

"Although we have made it clear to Viacom that their recent offers are neither fair nor reasonable, they continue to seek a significant overall increase in what they're paid, still at more than 20% and still demanding payment for a new channel with R-rated programming that our customers have not requested and many of them do not want," Suddenlink wrote.
The cable company then addressed customer queries about the possibilities of retaining some Viacom channels, at the expense of losing others.
"We would like to do that, but every Viacom offer so far has demanded payment for their new network with R-rated programming, and they have never made a realistic offer for only some of their channels. For instance: If we wanted to keep only Nickelodeon, the cost of that one channel would be three times more than what Viacom charges today for seven of their channels. Or, if we wanted to keep Nickelodeon, TV Land, MTV, and Comedy Central, the cost of those four channels would be five times more than what Viacom charges today for 20 channels, including their digital channels."
Viacom declined to comment.
The expiring contract also covers TV Land, Spike TV, VH1 and CMT, plus Logo, Palladia HD, Nick Jr., TeenNick, NickToons, Nick2, MTV Hits, MTV2, MTV Jams, Tr3s, VH1 Classic, VH1 Soul, and CMT Pure Country.
Suddenlink said Viacom continues to include Epix, the joint venture of Paramount, Lionsgate and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, as part of its proposal, even though the cable operator has repeatedly told the programmer its customers have not expressed any interest in the service.

As part of the JV agreement, Viacom's MTVN unit is handling marketing and affiliate relations for Epix.