More than three million Cablevision customers may start 2013 without receiving 17 Viacom cable network channels as a result of the two parties' dispute over programming fees, The New York Post reported.
The channel network and cable operator's five-year deal expires on 31 December and the former is now demanding an increase in fees in the renewed contract.
Viacom's argument is that it accounts for 20 per cent of viewing but only eight per cent of Cablevision's overall programming fees, according to the publication.
Earlier this year, Viacom was involved in a similar spat with DirecTV's which caused the operator's 20 million customers to lose Viacom's channels for nine days in July. The two parties were forced to reconcile after extensive discontent among viewers. Both sides suffered from the prolonged blackout, with Viacom losing ad revenue and DirecTV shedding subscribers. Its dispute over distribution fees with the Tribune Co. lasted more than two months and deprived customers in New York of local station WPIX 11.
Viacom has been investing in programming to boost flagging ratings at its youth-oriented channels, home to popular shows such as "Teen Mom," "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" and "SpongeBob Squarepants."