Spectrum cable customers will get to keep MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon and more Viacom TV channels — for now.
Viacom Inc. and Spectrum’s parent company Charter Communications have agreed to an extension of carriage talks, a person familiar with contract negotiations told Variety. Spectrum customers continue to be able to access Viacom’s cable networks as discussions continue.
“Viacom has agreed to a short term extension of our renewal deadline with Charter while we work to reach a mutually beneficial deal,” the source told Variety.
The companies did not say how long the short term extension would last.
Viacom previously said approximately 16.5 million Spectrum customers may lose more than 20 channels including MTV, VH1, Nick, Spike (which is rebranding as Paramount Network) and Comedy Central due to a contract dispute. The current contract expired Sunday.
“While we’re making every effort to reach a new deal, Charter’s actions may force a disruption in Spectrum subscribers’ service,” Viacom said last week. “Despite our efforts, Charter continues to insist on unreasonable and extreme terms that are totally inconsistent with the market. While we’re making every effort to reach a new deal, Charter’s actions may force a disruption in their service.”
Charter, which bought Time Warner Cable last year and rebranded TWC’s service to Spectrum, has reportedly been bickering with Viacom for months after moving MTV, Comedy Central and other networks to a higher-priced cable subscription tier.
“They don’t have the contractual right to tier our services the way they have,” Viacom CEO Bob Bakish told investors in August.
Spectrum has not commented on the dispute.
Similar contract disputes earlier this year include Fox Networks Group nearly pulling FX network, National Geographic and Fox Sports from Spectrum in April, and Verizon FiOS customers losing Fox Syracuse for over a month at the beginning of 2017. Both eventually reached agreements.
According to Reuters, Viacom is in the middle of a turnaround as it struggles to compete with online streaming services while cable companies are fighting cord-cutters. Six of the largest U.S. pay TV providers, including Charter, posted subscriber losses during the past quarter.