Viacom channels began returning to the lineups in Suddenlink systems across the country this week after a three-year drought, part of an earlier carriage renewal agreement with the cable company’s parent Altice USA.
Suddenlink dropped the Viacom channels in September 2014 when the distributor was an independent company, claiming the networks were too costly. They stayed off even after Suddenlink was acquired by European telecom company Altice N.V., in 2015 and its purchase of Cablevision Systems a year later. Cablevision, now Altice USA’s Optimum unit, already had a carriage deal with Viacom and offered the channels to its subscribers.
In May, Altice USA reached a comprehensive carriage renewal agreement with Viacom that returned the channels to Suddenlink. In July, CEO Dexter Goei said 16 Viacom channels would return to Suddenlink systems beginning in August, with the rollout complete to 90% of its footprint by the end of the year. Viacom offers about two-dozen networks, and Altice USA did not specify which channels would return.
An Altice USA spokesperson said the initial launch areas for the channels include markets in Texas and Oklahoma and the networks will continue to be rolled out across the footprint in the coming months. Suddenlink has about 1.1 million TV customers.