No Deal: DirecTV Loses Viacom's Channels As Carriage Talks Break Down

DirecTV’s 20M customers lost Viacom’s 17 channels — including Nickelodeon, MTV, and Comedy Central — at about 11:50 PM ET. Now the finger-pointing is underway. Derek Chang, the satellite company’s EVP Content, Strategy and Development, says that 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.” But Viacom says “DirecTV dropped the channels without giving Viacom advanced warning.” They last spoke at 11 AM on Tuesday, the company says. The big issue is price: DirecTV says that Viacom is demanding 30% more for its channels — equal to about $1B. It isn’t justified, Chang says, due to “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.” Viacom counters that it “proposed a fair deal that amounted to an increase of only a couple pennies per day, per subscriber, and we remained willing to negotiate that deal right up to this evening’s deadline. However, DirecTV refused to engage in meaningful conversation.”

Related: Does Viacom Have More At Risk Than DirecTV Does In Programming Standoff? (more…)

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