DirecTV, Viacom squabble could see MTV, Comedy Central and 24 others go dark at midnight

The latest participants in the carriage dispute dance are DirecTV and Viacom, with the two companies attempting to reach a new agreement before their existing one expires tonight. If they don't, the network's 26 channels (MTV, BET, VH1, Spike TV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon etc.) could be cut off at midnight. As usual, each has its own side of the argument with Viacom claiming DirecTV has been underpaying for years, while DirecTV accuses Viacom of seeking an increase that will add up to a billion dollars in a year and is responsible for pulling the channels while negotiations continue. We're not particularly sympathetic to the plight of either corporate behemoth (or optimistic that any savings will ever reach customer's pockets) but if you must support one over the other then there's plenty of propaganda to be found at the links below. This may not be as crucial as Dish Network's (potentially) Breaking Bad-interrupting tiff with AMC, but if we have to miss an episode of Workaholics or Awkward it's going to be bad for everyone.

Update: We've revised the total channel count from 26 as Viacom stated to 18 -- as much as we like HD feeds, we don't usually count them twice.

[Thanks, AJ]

Show full PR text

DIRECTV has absolutely no intention of removing your favorite Viacom networks like Nickelodeon, Comedy Central or MTV. But, unfortunately, Viacom executives sent a letter to us today, forcing us to take these channels down by midnight tomorrow if we don't come to an agreement.

We asked Viacom to allow us to keep the channels up while we continue to negotiate but they refused. They are using this tactic to try and leverage over a 30% increase (that's an additional one billion dollars) from our customers. We're working diligently on a new agreement to keep making these channels available at a fair price to our customers.

But in the meantime, ask Viacom to do the right thing and give DIRECTV the permission to keep these channels on while we continue to negotiate. We will also ask Viacom to keep making these networks available during any of our private business discussions.

____

As of midnight on Tuesday, July 10, DirecTV will drop 26 Viacom channels, including Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central, BET, VH1, CMT, Spike TV, TV Land and more. Viacom is the most watched programmer on DirecTV. Nickelodeon is the most watched cable network on DirecTV. We regret that DirecTV refuses to consider a fair deal that recognizes the value of Viacom programming. We urge DirecTV customers to call 800-531-5000 or visit www.whendirectvdrops.com and demand that DirecTV put its customers first, and keep Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central, BET and all of Viacom's channels.