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Viacom Snags Charter Renewal

Viacom said it has reached a multi-year carriage renewal agreement with Charter Communications, which includes a partnership to co-produce original content and collaborate on advanced advertising.

As part of the deal, Charter will carry eight Viacom networks – Nickelodeon, BET, MTV, Comedy Central, Spike (Paramount Network), VH1, TV Land and CMT on its most popular Spectrum Select tier. Additional networks will continue to be available on Charter’s pricier programming packages, Spectrum Silver and Spectrum Gold.

Viacom and Charter had butted heads earlier in the year when the programmer revealed that its networks were being placed outside of the cable company’s most popular tier for new customers. Viacom CEO Bob Bakish had said publicly that he believed that practice could be in violation of its carriage deal, but said the two companies were in conversations to rectify the matter. With the new renewal deal, those differences appear to have been ironed out.

Back in October, both parties said they had reached an agreement in principle – Viacom’s original carriage agreement expired on Oct. 15 – which allowed Charter to continue to carry Viacom networks as the deal was finalized. 

The new deal also includes a partnership to produce original programming that will exclusively premiere on Charter systems in the U.S. Under the agreement, Viacom’s Paramount Television and Charter will jointly produce programming that Viacom will distribute internationally and in additional domestic markets, including on Viacom Networks, potentially, after Charter’s premiere period.

Additionally, the companies have agreed to collaborate on the use of anonymized viewership data, on advanced advertising opportunities and on addressing unauthorized password sharing.