DirecTV customers were left without Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central and 14 other channels Tuesday, July 10, 2012, after Viacom dropped its networks from DirecTV at approximately midnight EDT. DirecTV executives reached out to Viacom both yesterday and today with a new proposal and a request to keep the channels on while we continued to negotiate, but never heard back, so DirecTV had to comply with their demand to take the channels down or face legal action.
“We have been very willing to get a deal done, but Viacom is pushing DirecTV customers to pay more than a 30 percent increase, which equates to an extra $1 billion, despite the fact that the ratings for many of their main networks have plummeted and much of Viacom’s programming can be seen for free online,” said Derek Chang, DirecTV executive vice president of Content, Strategy and Development. “Viacom sent us a letter last night that outlined our obligations to remove the channels by midnight or face legal action just as they were falsely telling viewers DirecTV was responsible. Let’s be clear, Viacom took these channels away from DirecTV viewers.”
On its Website www.DirecTVpromise.com, an information resource for customers affected by programming disputes, DirecTV pointed out that Viacom is demanding an exorbitant increase for many Viacom channels that customers may never watch. DirecTV stated that if Viacom believes all of its networks are worth so much extra money, DirecTV customers should have the right to choose which Viacom channels they want to pay to keep and which ones they don’t.
However, Viacom released a statement claiming that DirecTV is throwing around “big numbers that are misleading.” In that statement Viacom explained that the companies are under negation on a seven year contract, with the new proposal is asking DirecTV for an increase of a couple of pennies per day per subscriber. That’s far less than DirecTV pays other programmers with fewer viewers than Viacom. Viacom has always been open to negotiating and hopes to get a deal done.
Viacom’s distribution agreement with DirecTV is set to expire at midnight on Tuesday, July 10. “We’ve been negotiating for months and even offered DirecTV an extension past the agreement’s original June 30th expiration date.” reported in the press release ”However, despite our best efforts, DirecTV has rejected all of our proposals to renew our agreement. This evening, DirecTV provided Viacom with a counter proposal that included a lower rate than Viacom receives from any other distributor in the industry. With this offer, our negotiations have reached an impasse.”
This means that, as of tomorrow night, nearly 20 million DirecTV subscribers will be without entertainment from the programmer they watch most. A total of 26 Viacom channels, including Nickelodeon, MTV, and Comedy Central, BET, VH1, CMT, Spike TV, TV Land and more won’t be available.
DirecTV made claim in its press statement “We have absolutely no problem compensating Viacom fairly, but they have now knowingly put our customers in the unreasonable position of either accepting their extravagant financial demands or losing some of their favorite TV shows,”
With their customers favorite channels diapering, DirecTV is helping its customers find alternative programming until the matter is resolved. Customers will now see a variety of replacement channels available to them on one screen, in a Mix Channel format, when they tune to a Viacom channel. For instance, those going to the Nickelodeon channel slot will see alternative choices for children’s programming such as The Disney Channel, ABC Family, Cartoon Network, PBS Sprout, The Hub and Boomerang. Customers can also see full-length Viacom episodes for free by going to www.DirecTVpromise.com and clicking on the ‘Other Ways to Watch’ tab.”