Kent: Viacom Return Unlikely

Suddenlink Communications CEO Jerry Kent gave little hope that a carriage deal will eventually be reached with programmer Viacom, adding that the mid-market cable operator has “moved on.”

Viacom went dark to Suddenlink customers on Oct. 1 after the two could not agree on a carriage agreement. Suddenlink reported fourth quarter results Tuesday and though basic video losses at 34,800 customers were about four times more than the 8,600 subscribers it lost in the same period in 2013, Kent said those losses were expected and turned out to be even lighter than the company had thought. In addition, Kent said that Suddenlink began to show improvement as the quarter progressed, adding that year to date, subscriber figures are about in line with the previous year.

According to Suddenlink, the MSO also has managed to retain about 99.7% of its total residential customers – meaning that while between 2% and 2.5% of its video customers have defected in the wake of its Viacom dispute, the overwhelming majority of its broadband customers have stayed, despite aggressive promotional activity from competitors.

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