Viacom and Charter are planning to make original programming
Viacom Inc. and Charter Communications Inc. are planning to work together to produce original content that will exclusively premiere for Charter subscribers in the U.S., the companies announced Wednesday.
Viacom’s VIAB, -0.66% Paramount Television and Charter CHTR, -0.61% will jointly produce programming that Viacom will distribute overseas, as well as in certain domestic markets, including potentially on Viacom Networks, after an initial premiere period on Charter.
The companies made the announcement as they agreed terms to renew and expand their distribution pact. The parties had missed an original deadline for renewal after months of talks, before finally reaching an agreement in principle in October.
Under the renewal, Charter will offer Nickelodeon, BET, MTV, Comedy Central, Spike (Paramount Network), VH1, TV Land and CMT, to subscribers of its Spectrum basic cable package. Additional Viacom networks will be available to subscribers to its Spectrum Silver and Spectrum Gold premium packages.
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Charter had offered those eight channels to its Select customers until April, when it decided to move them to a more expensive package.
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The two companies will also cooperate on the use of anonymized viewership data, on advanced advertising opportunities, and on addressing unauthorized password sharing, a problem that has plagued many pay TV and video platforms, including Netflix Inc. NFLX, -1.28%
No financial terms were disclosed.
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Charter is the second-biggest cable TV company in the U.S., after Comcast Corp. CMCSA, +0.38% since completing the acquisition of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks last year. The company had 16.5 million residential video customers at the end of the third quarter.
The company reported weaker-than-expected profit and revenue numbers, however, and said it lost 104,000 traditional TV subscribers.
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On Tuesday, online-TV service Philo launched offering a bundle of 37 channels, including Comedy Central, TLC, Food Network, AMC and A&E, as The Wall Street Journal reported.
Viacom shares fell 0.8% in Wednesday trading and are down 31% in 2017. Charter shares were down 0.4%, but are up 16.5% in 2017.
The S&P 500 SPX, -0.51% has gained 15% in the year to date, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.58% has gained 18%.