Cablevision Sues Viacom to end bundling

Cablevision Sues Viacom To Break Up Bundles

Media giants require cable and satellite providers to deliver channels in bundles. Cablevision, one of the largest providers of access to TV programing in the United States, is suing Viacom, one of the largest producers of TV programing, to end the practice of bundling unpopular channels with popular ones (PDF).

“The manner in which Viacom sells its programming is illegal, anti-consumer, and wrong. 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.”

Now, if you want Comedy Central so you can watch The Daily Show, you also have to subscribe to Nicktoons too even if no one in your house ever watches cartoons. If successful, this lawsuit could change all that.

Consumers have long wished for the opportunity to subscribe to TV channels à la carte. If you don’t like sports at all, why should you have to pay for ESPN?

BGR explains why:

“DISH’s Dave Shull said that just two media companies account for roughly 50% of pay-TV providers’ content costs, and accounting for the unbalanced costs would be extremely difficult with an a la carte model. Shull thinks that ‘mini-packages’ composed of related shows available for purchase on-demand are as close as the industry will get to an à la carte option.”

Viacom claims it doesn’t force cable companies to bundle it’s channels but provides them at a discount to those who do. According to the New York Times, Viacom released a statement saying the company would “vigorously defend this transparent attempt by Cablevision to use the courts to renegotiate our existing two-month-old agreement.”

Since past legal efforts to end the process of bundling have been unsuccessful, Cablevision may be working to get consumers to rally behind them and ultimately end channel bundles for good.

Do you like bundles or would you rather buy only the channels you watch?