Viacom fired off a legal reply calling for a federal court to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Â Cablevision Systems, which sued the media company earlier this year alleging its bundling of unpopular channels was illegal.
"This suit is a transparent ploy by Cablevision to renegotiate its agreement with Viacom," the media company said in a statement.Â "Its decisions to raise prices for consumers and reject carriage for smaller networks have nothing to do with its Viacom contract. Our suite offering provides consumers greater choice at lower cost.â
Cablevision sued Viacom in February, claiming that the programming giant gave the MSO the choice of either carrying 14 little-watched channels — like VH1 Classic and MTV Hits — or paying a "penalty" of more than $1 billion for eight core channels (MTV, MTV2, Nickelodeon, VH1, Spike, TV Land, Comedy Central and BET).
"Viacom is using our customers as pawns in its game to limit choice and competition and, ultimately, it is the consumer who suffers the consequences of Viacomâs illegal actions," the Bethpage, N.Y.-based cable op said in a statement.
The case is pending in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.