DirecTV-Viacom Spat: Is an End in Sight?

(Ping! Zine Web Tech Magazine) – With the DirecTV-Viacom spat continuing to drag on, some DirecTV customers are surely proclaiming, “I want my MTV!” That’s not all, other channels blacked out from the dispute include Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, CMT, BET and a variety of others.

Viacom wants a 30% price increase for the satellite TV provider’s customers to have its programming included, DirecTV has argued. DirecTV refuses and although negotiations between the two sides remain active, we’ve got to wonder: What’s taking so long?

DirecTV reported on Saturday that the companies were making progress. It also recently integrated some new stations into its programming in a possibly hopeful attempt to satisfy disenchanted customers. With the temporary loss of Nickelodeon, DirecTV added Disney Junior. Also in the mix is a preview of MLB Extra Innings.

“We are getting closer to a long-term agreement to ensure your family can get the channels it wants at the most affordable cost while also ensuring you don’t have to deal with this sort of interruption (at least from Viacom) again,” DirecTV most recently reported yesterday.

The satellite TV provider is also emphasizing other ways to access programming that their customers are currently missing out on, noting on that shows such as The Daily Show and The Colbert Report were offered on content streaming platform Hulu for free.

Mark Jafar of Viacom referred to the dispute as “an unacceptable situation” on Friday. “We can only imagine how frustrating it is for DIRECTV subscribers who pay their bill on time every month and expect to get what they’ve paid for,” commented Jafar.

Viacom has defended its proposed rate increase that would be imposed upon DirecTV’s customers. “We maintain that the rate increase we’ve requested from DIRECTV is fair, reasonable, and in line with what we’re paid by every other cable and satellite provider in the industry — ALL of whom we have agreements with and NONE of which have dropped our channels since 2004,” continued the blog post from Jafar.

The company is also running advertisements and has a video available on YouTube featuring popular characters from the programming it owns including Spongebob, Eric Cartman and Stephen Colbert. The Viacom commercial asks that customers call DirecTV and to demand the satellite provider keeps Viacom channels.

Not coming to an agreement could also be taking a toll on programming affected by the debacle. On Monday, a report from the Los Angeles Times noted that viewership of Nickelodeon was significantly down. So how much longer will this go on? To many outsiders, the squabble is ridiculous and both companies could lose lots of love.