A source says the two media companies agreed to extend their carriage renewal deadline, averting a blackout of Viacom programming. Fred Katayama reports.
Spectrum's cable customers have averted a Nickelodeon blackout - for now. A source says the operator of Nickelodeon, Viacom, agreed to extend the Sunday renewal deadline with the parent of Spectrum, Charter Communications. A blackout would have also included other Viacom networks such as MTV and Comedy Central. The stakes are high. An analyst at Viacom's second largest sharehodler, Gabelli, estimates Viacom stands to lose about $760 million if the two sides don't cut a deal. That's about 16 percent of Viacom's annual affiliate revenue. Evercore ISI analyst Vijay Jayant thinks the companies will arrive at an agreement because "the long-term partnership between the two is mutually beneficial." He says Charter is committed to boosting its video subscriber base and that Viacom still heavily relies on affiliate distribution channels. Cord cutting has pressured both sides as audiences flock to cheaper streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Investors relieved. Shares of both Viacom and Charter rising at the market open Monday.