Viacom versus DirecTV

No Viacom For You
No Viacom For You

This is what is currently being broadcast on Comedy Central on my DirecTV box

VIACOM WANTS YOU TO PAY OVER 30% MORE to get back the same channels you were already receiving.

That’s over $1B on top of what you were already paying for not only MTV and Nickelodeon, but also all of their other channels that you might never watch. You should be able to decide which Viacom channels you want and which you don’t.

To thank you for your patience until Viacom channels are returned, all 8 Encore Channels (including Encore Family) will be made available to all of our Residential customers thru July 31st.


Luckily for me, both The Daily Show With Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert’s Colbert Report are on vacation for another week. If this negotiation drags on as long as the AMC vs. Dish Networks dispute – which still isn’t settled – I’ll be annoyed. Stewart and Colbert are nearly the entire source of my televised news information – despite neither show being really a newsshow.

Sam Thielman of Adweek:

Viacom and DirecTV have split over carriage fee negotiations, with 17 million DirecTV customers now without Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and VH1. The faceoff got very public yesterday, and today is looking to hit in a much more extreme way, with both companies poised to roll out advertisements across multiple platforms taking their respective cases to the public.

“We proposed a fair deal that amounted to an increase of only a couple pennies per day per subscriber, and we remained willing to negotiate that deal right up to this evening’s deadline,” said Viacom in an unbylined statement on the company blog earlier today. If that sounds suspiciously like “you can feed a starving mega corporation for only pennies a day,” it probably should.

Per subscriber, most cable companies pay an average of $1.21 per month for a high-rated cable network like TNT; if “a couple” literally means “two,” that means Viacom is asking for about a 60-cent bump—basically half a TNT—from DirecTV.

DirecTV called it a 30 percent rate hike, estimating its total cost to the company (and eventually the subscribers) at $1 billion. Its ad to consumers, however, scolds Viacom for taking “an all-or-nothing” approach to carriage, requiring the MSO to keep all the Viacom networks rather than just the popular ones. That’s not exactly dirty pool, by carriage negotiation standards; no network conglomerate would ever see growth if it were.

(click here to continue reading Viacom and DirecTV Split Over Carriage Fees | Adweek.)


TechCrunch adds:

The latest spat between a pay TV provider and a content company has gotten ugly, with both DirecTV and Viacom taking to the web, pointing fingers and calling each other names. That’s to be expected, in this day and age, as cable and satellite subscribers become innocent bystanders in the big fight over how much money these corporate behemoths make.

Usually, though, these fights only matter to the subscribers who pay a certain cable or satellite provider, and only really when their favorite channels go dark. In the case of DirecTV and Viacom, however, the carriage dispute has a lot more collateral damage, as it affects pretty much anyone who enjoys watching select MTV and Comedy Central shows online.

Like some other pay TV providers before it, DirecTV has taken the unusual approach of telling subscribers that they can easily access a lot of the shows that have gone dark on the web. And in a counter-move, Viacom has begun playing hardball, by taking down that very same online programming. There’s only one problem: It’s not just DirecTV subscribers who can’t watch those shows online — the takedown applies to everyone else, as well.

As spotted by BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield earlier today (free registration required), Viacom has begun blocking access to certain key shows online, including The Daily Show and Jersey Shore. (Interestingly enough, the takedown doesn’t appear to affect Viacom programming that appears on other sites — like, for instance, The Daily Show episodes on Hulu. A Hulu spokesperson declined to comment on whether its licensed programming would also be affected.)

(click here to continue reading DirecTV Spat Results In Takedown Of Full-Length Viacom Shows For Everyone Online | TechCrunch.)

The WSJ reports on some of the root cause of the dispute:

The disappearance of Nickelodeon, MTV and Comedy Central from the TV sets of 20 million American homes on Wednesday marked a line in the sand drawn by one of the biggest pay-TV distributors in a dispute over programming fees with a major entertainment company.

What might once have been a run-of-the-mill spat has taken on heightened importance because it occurs at a pivotal time in the TV industry. Low-price or free online video outlets like Netflix,  and Google Inc.’s  YouTube are emerging as serious competitors to traditional cable-TV services, putting the spotlight on the relatively pricey nature of cable TV.

Viacoms channels-including Nickelodeon, MTV and Comedy Central-went off the air for DirectTV subscribers overnight after the two sides failed to come to an agreement on programming fees. William Launder has details on Markets Hub. (Photo: Nickelodeon/AP)

That issue is particularly acute in this dispute, where Viacom is seeking an increase in the fees it is paid by DirecTV  to carry its channels. Viacom licenses many of its shows to outlets like Netflix and Amazon, prompting industry executives to worry about cannibalizing traditional TV. Several top Viacom channels, particularly Nickelodeon, have recently seen ratings declines.

DirecTV has said Viacom is asking for a 30% increase in fees; Viacom says it is asking for a fair deal. The entertainment company says it has been paid below-market rates for its programming under a contract negotiated seven years ago with the satellite provider.

DirecTV said the lack of an agreement forced it to stop carrying Viacom channels late Tuesday, just before midnight. As of Wednesday evening, with social-media outlets like Twitter and Facebook ablaze with complaints about the dispute, Viacom and DirecTV executives had restarted negotiations.

Some Wall Street analysts say DirecTV might have more leverage than usual in this case because Viacom’s best-known channels have seen ratings declines and the media company doesn’t have the advantage of a sports or broadcast network to bolster its negotiations. Viacom points out Nickelodeon remains one of the most-watched channels on the dial. Many other Viacom channels, though, are much less-watched, according to Nielsen.

On Wednesday, Viacom TV personalities were tweeting their hopes for a quick resolution of the dispute. “Let’s all pray this Viacom/DirecTV beef gets squashed by next week,” tweeted Daniel Tosh of “Tosh.O,” a show on Comedy Central.Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, a reality-TV personality on “Jersey Shore,” tweeted a sad face emoticon and “Wah” as she quoted a fan’s tweet lamenting the loss of MTV on DirecTV.

(click here to continue reading Viacom, DirecTV Restart Carriage-Fee Talks; Web Video Inflames Fight Over TV Fees –

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