26 Viacom channels which including heavyweights MTV, Nickelodeon, and Comedy Central, went off the air for nearly 20 million DirecTV subscribers the two companies stood their ground a fee dispute. The two sides took to social media to take their cases directly to the public. Viacom says DirectTV has “removed” these channels, while DirecTV has claimed they were “taken away.” There is no word from either side as of this writing as to if or when those channels will return to DirecTV. Who do you think is in the right here?
On Viacom’s Facebook page, they wrote:
DirecTV is throwing around some big numbers that are misleading. Here’s the truth: Viacom 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. We have always been open to negotiating and hope to get a deal done.
They have also launched a separate Facebook page, specifically for this dispute. This page characterizes the dispute as, “DirecTV is taking away 26 of your channels.” Perhaps the best question posed by a commenter to this post was: If it’s “just a couple of pennies” then why not forget about it. Got DTV. Another commenter took the words out of my mouth and asked, “How many pennies is a couple? 3? 30? It makes a big difference!”
In their defense, some commenters stated that without channels such as MTV and Nick, they would be unable to keep DirecTV.
For their part, DirecTV wrote:
DIRECTV customers were left without Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central and 14 other channels today, after Viacom dropped its networks from DIRECTV.
DIRECTV did not want this to happen, but Viacom forced us to take them down or face legal action. We’re doing everything we can to get these channels back on the air – without an unfair increase to your bill. We will keep you updated.
Several DirecTV customers publicly posed the question of whether their bills would now be reduced since there would be less channels available to them. It’s a good question that DirecTV has not answered yet. A DirecTV rep did respond to comments and added the following comment:
Switching providers doesn’t help the situation because you could be facing this same problem with a different provider next year. All video providers are now faced with these same threats of higher costs which will make your monthly bill spiral out of control, so in the end, everyone’s family is forced to pay higher bills. By holding firm, DIRECTV has been able to keep our customer’s share of these increases to just 4% — the lowest of any video provider.
From reading the thousands of comments on both Facebook pages, it does appear that the public on that site sides with DirecTV, with the feeling that the channels and shows offered on them aren’t worth the $1 billion it is claimed will be earned by Viacom’s proposed increase.
Viacom posted a blog post tonight entitled DirecTV Drops 26 Viacom Channels. DirecTV chose to characterize it as channels being “removed” instead of “taken down” by stating, “DirecTV is not removing Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central, TV Land and the other channels Viacom owns. You won’t lose them unless Viacom chooses to take them away.”
The whole thing is a mess and the only thing for certain is that DirecTV customers are the big losers here.
Who do you feel is in the wrong in this fiasco?
List of Viacom Channels in Dispute
Channels being “removed” or “taken away” (depending on who you ask) includes the following, along with HD counterparts of several in the list:
- BET HD
- Comedy Central
- Comedy Central HD
- CMT HD
- MTV HD
- MTV India
- Nick Jr.
- Nickelodeon West
- Nickelodeon HD
- Spike HD
- TV Land
- VH1 Classic
Filed under: Consumers