You Won’t Lose Comedy Central — Yet. Viacom and Charter Are Still Negotiating
The existing deal was due to expire Sunday, October 15, and had spurred an ugly dispute between Viacom and Charter.
As early as last Wednesday (October 11), Viacom (VIAB) had warned that it was unable to reach a deal with Charter (CHTR). The media company began running ads on its networks warning viewers of a possible disruption in service, and urged them to pressure Charter to keep Viacom. It also launched a website, called keepviacom.com.
Meanwhile, Charter launched a microsite, suggesting that Viacom is overpaid. The site reportedly said that Viacom’s “business is suffering and they are trying to boost their bottom line at the expense of you, our customer,” and that the company “has been overpaid for their channels over the recent year.”
Following reports that the two sides continued talks Sunday night beyond the 7 pm deadline, an unnamed source said that “Viacom has agreed to a short term extension of our renewal deadline with Charter while we work to reach a mutually beneficial deal.” The extension has succeeded in avoiding an immediate blackout of Viacom networks for Charter subscribers.
Without a deal, both sides stand to lose. Charter’s 16.6 million subscribers would lose access to Viacom’s networks, including Comedy Central, MTV, and Nickelodeon. Meanwhile, Viacom could lose $760 million or 16% of its annual affiliate revenue, reports Reuters.