DirecTV customers lose 22 Viacom stations
Juliana D. Norwood | 7/11/2012, 5 p.m.
Popular Viacom channels such as Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central, BET, VH1 and Spike were blacked out Tuesday night for DirecTV subscribers, after the two companies failed to agree on new programming fees. More than 20 million subscribers were affected by the dispute.
The two companies, which have been under contract for the last seven years, failed to come to an agreement over new carriage fees, after the contract expired over the weekend.
The action stems from Viacom's demand for an increase.
In a blog post late Tuesday, Viacom stated: "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.
"Viacom has always been open to negotiating and hopes to get a deal done."
The company also stated that it's the most watched programmer on DirecTV, accounting for 20 percent of all its viewing, but that it only gets paid for about 5 percent.
DirecTV responded by saying Viacom was seeking a 30 percent rate hike. "That's over $1 billion on top of what you already pay for not only MTV and Nickelodeon, but also all of their other channels that you might never watch," a company spokesperson said at the blog site DirecTVpromise. "You should be able to decide which Viacom channels you want and which you don't."
The companies' impasse led to the black-out, and millions of subscribers wait in the middle while the two sides decide whether or not to continue negotiations.