Viacom says unable to reach distribution deal with Charter

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Viacom, facing being kicked off Charter Communications' cable systems when its distribution agreement expires on October 15, says that under the proposals it has made Charter would pay less for Viacom's channel than it now pays.

Viacom, which owns 23 cable channels including BET, Comedy Central and MTV, put out a statement Wednesday that it was at a standstill in contract renewal negotiations with Charter Communications, which also markets itself as Spectrum.

"Viacom has made a series of very attractive offers to Charter that are consistent with terms we've recently reached with other large cable operators".

Charter, however, "continues to insist on unreasonable and extreme terms that customers could see a "disruption in their service", Viacom said". A blackout would affect 16.5 million subscribers, thanks to the company's expansion when it bought Time Warner Cable past year.

"Among the issues we face is Charter's attempt to inhibit the creation of smaller, more innovative and less expensive packages of the networks customers want, by penalizing Viacom if it participates in new skinny bundles or OTT streaming platforms", Bakish said in a note to employees, intercepted and excerpted by Bloomberg.

Charter spokesman Joe Durkin declined to comment.

"They don't have the contractual right to tier our services the way they have", Viacom CEO Bob Bakish told investors in August.

Like many of its peers, Viacom is struggling to keep viewers as more watch on smartphones and tablets. Their skepticism extends to Viacom.



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