Cablevision Files Antitrust Suit Against Viacom For Forced Bundling Of Crappy TV Channels
from the when-big-companies-fight dept
Oddly, we can't show you the full lawsuit, because it's been filed under seal. You see that sometimes when it involves contractual disputes, since the terms in the contract are secret. However, it's rather unfortunate that they couldn't file the document with the secret stuff redacted. At this time, we just have Cablevision's side of the story via their press announcement. The key argument is that this is an illegal "tying" arrangement. Of course, just last year we had a ruling in a similar lawsuit, in which cable customers filed a similar suit, which flopped in court.
Cablevision may have a difficult time making this claim succeed as well. As Viacom quickly pointed out in response, the bundling is not "forced." Pay TV companies can choose individual channels without other channels, it's just that the price is higher. So, they argue, the bundling actually leads to discounts. Whether or not anyone actually believes that claim may become a key question in the lawsuit. If I had to do an initial handicapping, though, I'd guess that Viacom wins this one, even if Cablevision can make Viacom (and others) sweat for a bit. In the long run, however, this is still about fighting the last battle. The idea of TV channels is an increasingly obsolete concept. This fight is over the way video content was distributed. Not the way it will be distributed in the future.