Viacom, Charter to renew distribution agreement

(Reuters) – Viacom Inc <VIAB.O> and Charter Communications Inc <CHTR.O> said on Wednesday that they had agreed to a multi-year renewal of their distribution agreement.

The companies also entered into a new partnership to co-produce original content. Under the partnership, Viacom’s Paramount Television and Charter will co-produce programming.

Shares of Viacom were up marginally in early trade. Charter’s shares were down 1.7 percent.

Wednesday’s announcement comes after the two sides had failed to reach a deal by the Oct. 15 deadline and then reached an in-principle agreement two days later.

The companies on Wednesday did not disclose other terms of the deal.

Charter will provide its Spectrum subscribers Viacom’s networks, including Nickelodeon, BET, MTV, Comedy Central, Spike (Paramount Network), VH1, TV Land and CMT, on the Spectrum Select tier across its systems.

Viacom Chief Executive 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.

The companies said on Wednesday they had also agreed to collaborate on advertising opportunities, the use of anonymized viewership data and on addressing unauthorized password sharing.

(Reporting by Arjun Panchadar and Sonam Rai in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)