Despite what Viacom describes as a last-minute decision to take Suddenlink up on its earlier proposal, the MSO has pulled the conglomerate's channels off its program guide, effective at midnight. Viacom, meanwhile, has blocked Suddenlink ISP users from accessing its content online.
St. Louis-based Suddenlink, which serves about 1.1 million video subscribers, says that after Viacom rejected its final offer Sept. 23, it entered into "long-term contracts with other parties for alternative programming." After adding 22 other networks as replacements--channels including Oprah Winfrey's OWN, Glenn Beck's The Blaze and Sean Combs' Revolt TV, among others--the MSO says it no longer has the bandwidth to reinstall Comedy Central, BET, MTV and 19 other Viacom channels.
Reads a Viacom statement, released early Tuesday evening: "Suddenlink took the unprecedented step of rejecting its own proposal and informed Viacom that it will drop our networks tonight when our deal expires. Suddenlink claimed to Viacom that it had created bandwidth issues that it is unable to remedy. Inexplicably, Suddenlink has backed itself into a corner and is now unable to accept its own final proposal."
Suddenlink claims Viacom is seeking a 50 percent spike in fees despite falling ratings. Viacom, meanwhile, says its channels command more audience share than any other programmer on Suddenlink's video platform.
Viacom is already dealing with an intractable carriage situation involving another small-to-mid-sized MSO, Phoenix, Ariz.-based Cable One, which pulled the conglomerate's channels off its guide in April and hasn't put them back.
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