Viacom vexed as Comcast moves Spike, CMT to higher-cost tier | Pay-TV | News | Rapid TV News
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Comcast has moved two Viacom-owned channels, Spike TV and CMT, out of the Digital Starter tier.

The channels, along with Pop (formerly the TV Guide Channel), have instead been sent to the Digital Premium package, which is $10 a month more expensive and thus reaches fewer people.

"Our goal is to provide customers with the best value and most viewing choices," Comcast said in a statement. "However, due to increasing programming costs, we sometimes need to make adjustments to our channel line-up. These are not easy decisions, and we know that some customers will be disappointed."

Viacom says that the move is a contract violation. "Comcast has moved both Spike TV and CMT to more expensive tiers of service," the media giant said in a statement. "This action is in direct violation of our agreement and will increase costs for customers who will now have to pay more for networks that were previously included in less expensive packages. We hope our Comcast viewers will continue to recognise the value of our services featuring hit shows such as Spike's Lip Sync Battle and CMT's I Love Kellie Pickler and seek them out, but we want them to know that all the extra money from these higher monthly fees goes directly to Comcast and is not shared with Spike TV or CMT.

"We continue to address our concerns directly with Comcast and hope their customers will do so as well," Viacom added.

This is far from Viacom’s first programming cost battle. In October, it settled two-year antitrust litigation with US cable firm Cablevision Systems.

The action related to a 2012 carriage agreement which went sour in February 2013 when Cablevision announced that it was suing Viacom for 'illegally' forcing it to carry and pay for 14 ancillary Cablevision channels it said its customers did not want — such as Palladia, MTV Hits and VH1 Classic — as part of a bundle including ones they did, such as Nickelodeon, MTV and Comedy Central.