Viacom and Charter Communications have reached an agreement in principle on a new carriage contract, a deal that will keep Viacom’s networks on Charter’s Spectrum service without disruption. The two companies just confirmed the news in a joint statement: “Viacom and Charter have reached an agreement in principle. Spectrum subscribers will continue to have access to Viacom’s networks, without disruption, while we finalize terms.”
The companies on Sunday night agreed to a “short-term” extension of their carriage negotiations after the expiration of the current deal. There was never a blackout or lockout, meaning Spectrum’s 16.6 million customers were able to keep watching MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and other networks as the talks continued.
The impasse had followed a recent carriage dispute between Disney and Altice, which acquired Cablevision and now operates the Optimum cable service. Those parties had clashed primarily over sports rights, whereas the issue with Charter and Viacom was the decision last spring by Charter to remove bedrock Viacom channels from Spectrum’s basic service and put them on a higher-priced tier. Along with that move, it rolled out a skinny bundle that features no sports — and no Viacom.
Charter became the nation’s No. 2 cable company after it acquired Time Warner Cable in 2016.