October 18, 2017 / 1:29 AM / 3 years ago

Viacom and Charter's Spectrum reach programming deal

FILE PHOTO: A security guard speaks into a microphone in his sleeve as he stands outside the Viacom Inc. headquarters in New York April 30, 2013. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

(Reuters) - Viacom Inc and cable operator Spectrum have agreed on a multi-year programming deal that keeps Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and Viacom’s 21 other networks in 16.6 million households, the companies said on Tuesday.

“Viacom and Charter have reached an agreement in principle. Spectrum subscribers will continue to have access to Viacom’s networks, without disruption, while we finalize terms,” the companies said in an emailed statement.​

Viacom and Spectrum, which is owned by Charter Communications Inc, reached the deal after negotiations that prompted Viacom to run TV ads urging viewers to call Spectrum to complain about a potential blackout..

Viacom CEO Bob Bakish, who took on his role last year, has made improving relations with distributors a key part of his turnaround strategy for the company. Like its peers, Viacom is struggling to keep viewers as more people watch shows on smartphones and tablets. Six of the largest U.S. pay-TV providers lost a total of 723,000subscribers during the second quarter. Of that total, Charter reported 90,000 subscriber losses.

Reporting By Jessica Toonkel; Additional reporting by Ismail Shakil in Bengaluru; Editing by Bill Rigby and Andrew Hay

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