As its carriage impasse escalated into a selective blackout of Internet content, Viacom on Wednesday announced that it had renewed its affiliate agreement with Verizon FiOS (NYSE: VZ).
The agreement to carry 25 Viacom channels also includes multiscreen rights that will enable Verizon to put those networks on its FiOS mobile app starting in 2015.
"People want to watch TV anywhere, not just in their living rooms. Disruption in the TV marketplace is happening and Verizon wants to reach agreements with content providers like Viacom that reflect that reality and give people what they want," said Ben Grad, executive director, content strategy and acquisition at Verizon.
As Viacom made things official with one of bigger fish in the pay-TV pond, its feud with Suddenlink continued to escalate, with the entertainment conglomerate blocking the MSO's broadband subscribers from online content.
When trying to stream shorts of SpongeBob SquarePants, The Daily Show or any other Viacom program, Suddenlink ISP customers were greeted with a page featuring this message: "Suddenlink has dropped 24 of your favorite channels and blocked you from seeing this content. We at Viacom understand your frustration and are making every effort to reach a distribution agreement."
The page then directs visitors to call Suddenlink and voice this frustration.
On Wednesday, the St. Louis-based MSO, which touts 1.1 million video subscribers, pulled Viacom channels off its program guides, replacing them with channels including the Oprah Winfrey Network and Sean Combs' Revolt TV. Viacom said it agreed to Suddenlink's terms, but the MSO said that capitulation came after it already earmarked its bandwidth and licensing coin under long-term agreements with other program providers.
Reads a Suddenlink statement released Wednesday afternoon: "Viacom has rejected all of our offers, including one we made yesterday. It's unfortunate we could not reach agreement, and we understand the frustration this will cause some customers, but we sincerely hope they'll give the new channels a try and that they find those channels as compelling as others have said they do."
- read this Viacom press release
Suddenlink to Viacom: Sorry, we already gave your bandwidth away
Suddenlink inks deals with CBS, Diddy's Revolt, but not update on pending Viacom blackout
Suddenlink threatens blackout of Viacom channels
Cable One preps replacements for Viacom channels
Viacom to deliver channels to Sony's new OTT service
Viacom-Cablevision antitrust battle escalates with fraud allegations