It’s no laughing matter to Viacom that AT&T could be dropping its channels from DirecTV and U-verse in just a couple of day but Comedy Central’s The Daily Show became the battlefield in the latest pay-TV carriage war tonight.
As host Trevor Noah listened to Neal Brennan’s mordacious takedown on the recent rise of socialism in political rhetoric (HINT: blame the rich) on the deliberately fake news show on Tuesday, a warning appeared on the bottom of the screen for a few seconds. “Your satellite TV provider is about to drop this channel and 22 others,” said the lower third directive aimed at DirecTV (see the photo above) and the midnight ET March 22 expiring contract.
Oddly, as a corresponding crawl seemed to start, Comedy Central suddenly became even more cropped. The move on channel 249 on DirecTV briefly reformatted the screen and the end of the segment with the Chappelle Show co-creator.
Viacom’s direct approach tonight to the dispute with DirecTV and AT&T’s U-verse system follows the media giant putting a series of ads on its own channels like Comedy Central, BET and Nickelodeon today about the dispute. Subsequent to AT&T’s decision last week to drop Viacom networks from the basic tier of its new DirecTV Now packages, the Shari Redstone dominated company has also created a http://www.keepviacom.com website for the self-evident purpose. Among a number of videos on that site, there is hyperbolic Trevor Noah addressing the camera to say “if you thought government shutdowns are bad, get ready for something worse.”
Coming less than a month after the Department of Justice surrendered its efforts to halt AT&T’s $81 billion purchase of Time Warner, as talks continued towards Friday’s deadline, Viacom have also rallied the internal troops.
“In that same spirit of partnership, Viacom has been working to negotiate an agreement with AT&T to renew distribution of our channels on DirecTV and AT&T video services,” said Viacom CEO Bob Bakish in a memo to staff earlier today of the efforts to pull the plug on any blackout. “Despite these efforts, AT&T continues to insist on unreasonable and extreme terms that are totally inconsistent with the market,” the exec added. “Having recently acquired Time Warner, AT&T appears intent on using its new market power to prioritize its own content at the expense of consumers, who are growing increasingly dissatisfied with paying more for less.”
Or, to quote Brennan quoting Ice Cube in his Daily Show segment tonight: “You better check yourself, before you wreck yourself.”
Speaking of which, watch Brennan’s taking on American Socialism 2019 here:
— The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) March 20, 2019