Suddenlink-Viacom Continue To Negotiate Network Renewals


With the year-end deadline nearing, Suddenlink Communications is continuing to negotiate a renewal agreement encompassing a host of Viacom-owned networks.
The contract between the cable operator and programmer expires on Dec. 31, covering such networks as Nickelodeon, MTV, TV Land, Comedy Central, Spike TV, VH1 and CMT.

Suddenlink officials said that if a new deal was not struck with Viacom, its subscribers' monthly cable bill would decline, reflecting the length of any disconnection.
"In our experience, many of these contract negotiations are not completed until just before their expiration date, although we sincerely hope this one can be completed well before then," said Suddenlink senior vice president of communications Pete Abel in a statement. "To that end, we will continue to negotiate in good faith with Viacom to establish a new contract with fair and reasonable terms for our customers. In the unusual event those negotiations are unsuccessful and Viacom refuses to allow us to carry some or all of the above-listed channels after December 31, we pledge to reduce customer prices by the cost of the affected channels for whatever length of time they are unavailable."
The statement essentially reiterates the message Suddenlink disseminated on its Web site on Dec. 1, when it first alerted its customers about the possibilities of a service disruption.

Other channels that could be impacted by a potential disconnect: Logo, Palladia HD, Nick Jr., TeenNick, NickToons, Nick2, MTV Hits, MTV2, MTV Jams, Tr3s, VH1 Classic, VH1 Soul, and CMT Pure Country.

Abel, in an interview, emphasized that the parties continue to negotiate and that Suddenlink was merely reminding its customers of the discussions as the deadline draws nigh. He would not disclose whether price and/or positioning was at the heart of the talks.
Viacom officials couldn't be reached for comment by press time.