AirTalk for February 27, 2013

Cablevision sues Viacom over bundling practices

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MTV Networks headquarters in Santa Monica, California. MTV parent company Viacom is being sued by Cablevision over their channel bundling practices.

Have you been bogged down by bundling? New York cable company Cablevision has filed suit against Viacom Inc., the parent company of MTV, Comedy Central, and Nickelodeon, claiming that their bundling policies are anti-consumer and illegal. Viacom, like many other companies, including Disney and NewsCorp., bundles its channels, forcing customers to purchase packages that include smaller channels in order to subscribe to the ones they want most.

Viewers have oft complained about bundling, many customers who want some Viacom channels are likely not to want all of them, and notable battles over single channels, as in the case of AMC and DISH have become standard in recent years. Time Warner, DirecTV, and several smaller distributors have spoken out in support of Cablevision’s cause, calling the practice of bundling in order to sell smaller channels to providers “shameful.”

Have you been affected by bundling? Do you seek out smaller channels, or would you rather pay a la carte? Even if you disagree with bundling, should it be illegal?

Guest:

Barton Crockett, Director and senior analyst covering Entertainment at Lazard Capital Markets

Chad Gutstein, C00 of the independent arts channel, Ovation

Alex Ben Block, senior editor at the Hollywood Reporter


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