May 25, 2017 / 8:37 PM / 2 years ago

Viacom networks to return to Suddenlink customers

FILE PHOTO: A woman exits the Viacom Inc. headquarters in New York, U.S. on April 30, 2013. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A number of Viacom Inc’s (VIAB.O) networks, which include Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and MTV, will be available to Altice NV’s (ATCA.AS) Suddenlink subscribers more than two years after the cable provider dropped them in a carriage dispute, the companies said on Thursday.

Suddenlink dropped all of Viacom’s networks in October 2014.

Netherlands-based cable operator Altice bought Suddenlink for $9.1 billion in 2015.

Suddenlink has 1.8 million customers in markets such as Texas, West Virginia and Louisiana, according to an Altice filing earlier this month.

Representatives for Viacom and Altice declined to comment on when and which networks would come back to Suddenlink. An Altice spokeswoman said the company would communicate directly with customers in the coming weeks about changes to their lineups.

The agreement also includes early carriage renewal of Viacom’s premier networks for Altice’s Optimum subscribers.

The return of Viacom networks to Suddenlink comes just months after Viacom’s new chief executive, Bob Bakish, said improving relations with distributors was a priority.

Over the past several weeks, Bakish has been bringing executives from Viacom to meet with different distributors and discuss the state of the industry and how they can help each other, Bakish told Reuters in an interview earlier this month.

However, Viacom is having issues with a larger distributor, Charter Communications Inc (CHTR.O), which recently moved Viacom’s flagship networks to its most expensive programming tier, which could mean lower affiliate and advertising revenue for the media company.

Additional reporting by Jessica Toonkel in New York; Editing by Bill Trott

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