Cablevision Sues Viacom for Forcing it to Purchase Networks it Doesn't Want
February 26, 2013 9:00 PM
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Cablevision filed the antitrust lawsuit against Viacom in federal court in Manhattan today
Cablevision Systems Corporation is
for making it pay extra for less popular ancillary networks in order to receive the more preferred networks.
According to Cablevision, Viacom made it pay for 14 ancillary networks like MTV Hits, VH1 Classic and Palladia in order to obtain popular networks that customers love, like MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon.
Cablevision went on to say that Viacom abused its market power by doing this, and even coerced Cablevision with threats of large financial penalties if it didn't comply.
"The manner in which Viacom sells its programming is illegal, anti-consumer, and wrong," said Cablevision. "Viacom effectively forces Cablevision's customers to pay for and receive little-watched channels in order to get the channels they actually want. Viacom's abuse of its market power is not only illegal, but also prevents Cablevision from delivering the programming that its customers want and that competes with Viacom's less popular channels."
Cablevision, which filed an antitrust lawsuit against Viacom in federal court in Manhattan today, said that it is seeking many solutions, including a permanent injunction barring Viacom from conditioning carriage of any or all of its core networks on Cablevision's licensing any or all of Viacom's ancillary networks; declaratory relief voiding the December 2012 carriage agreement; to effectuate the permanent relief, a requirement that Viacom permit Cablevision to carry the core networks and ancillary products on terms pending negotiation of a new, lawful agreement, and treble damages and legal fees.
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Oh, The Hypocrisy
2/28/2013 11:28:42 AM
It's funny how Cablevision didn't have a problem with this sort of behavior back when they had the "Metro" channels. For anyone who doesn't know this story ....
Back in the 90s, Cablevision owned a few sports teams and they also owned both MSG and Fox Sports NY, which gave them the exclusive TV rights to almost of the sports teams in the NY/NJ area. However, this presented a problem when there were more than 2 simultaneous games. So, they decided to put their overflow sports games onto a new "MSG Metro" channel. This channel had mostly garbage programming except for these occasional sports games. Even worse, they wouldn't sell this "MSG Metro" channel to other local cable companies like Comcast unless they also bought 2 other channels. These other 2 channels were also garbage channels. One was a local weather channel that was not needed since everybody already had the Weather channel. This created a big uproar as cable companies had no interest in those other channels and Cablevision refused to sell just the MSG Metro station. Customers at the other cable companies were getting angry at missing up to 20% of their sports teams' games. I know because Cablevision didn't service my area. The problem eventually went away as some teams moved to other networks like YES. However, Cablevision was doing basically the exact same thing in that case. They were trying to strong arm the other cable companies into buying basically 3 worthless channels just to get the occasional sports game. It's funny how it's unfair when it's being done
them, but it was just fine when they were the ones doing it.
“Then they pop up and say ‘Hello, surprise! Give us your money or we will shut you down!' Screw them. Seriously, screw them. You can quote me on that.” -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng referencing patent trolls
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