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I Want DirecTV and Viacom To Shut Up And Play Nice

I have never witnessed anything like it in my life.  My TV was fighting with itself last night.  One graphic crawled across the screen telling me how evil DirecTV was and that they would drop a bunch of channels, and that I should call a number and switch providers.  Another crawl appeared underneath and told me that Viacom was greedy asking for billions of dollars and that they’d eventually come around.  Now a bunch of channels are gone and both parties are still fighting.

Eric Cornish

Yeah, that’s what my TV looked like.  I could barely catch the action on reruns of Yes Dear and Friends on Nick.  Then, around midnight…GONE!  C’mon guys play nice.  Seriously, these are huge corporations fighting like they are little high school girls.

Here’s the stance from DirecTV:

Viacom is responsible for removing Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central, TV Land and other channels. DIRECTV did not want this to happen, but Viacom forced us to take them down or face legal action. We’re doing everything we can to get these channels back on the air – without an unfair increase to your bill. In the meantime, we want to keep you connected to your favorite shows.

and they go on:

Viacom’s temporarily suspended a total of 17 different channels and not the 26 that it reports. Viacom’s double-counting both high definition and standard definition versions of the same service to overly inflate its totals and add more unnecessary drama to what should have always remained private business discussions.

And then Viacom has issued this statement:

DirecTV dropped Viacom’s channels at precisely 11:46 p.m. ET last night, replacing most of our networks with a looping video message from their CEO, and replacing Nickelodeon with a mosaic image of non-Viacom kids’ programming available on DirecTV.

After doing so, DirecTV told the press that Viacom ignored attempts to reach a deal.  This is not true.

The following is a statement from Denise Denson, our Executive Vice President of Content Distribution and Marketing, that clarifies the events that led up to DirecTV removing our channels last night:

“The last time we spoke with DirecTV was at 11:00 a.m. yesterday morning and there were no new ideas offered for resolution.  In fact, the last proposal DirecTV had made was lower than anyone else pays in the industry, and a deal we said we would not do out of fairness to other distributors.  It is essentially the same proposal they had been talking about for three weeks, and one we continually said we would not do.  DirecTV also refused to engage with us on any issues related to the deal beyond the rate increase.  We are ready to talk at any time.”

I don’t care who’s right or wrong, but is this the way two media giants should conduct business?  I think not.  Even more than that, I want my MTV…ok, really CMT.  I want to watch Comedy Central.  My kids want their Dora The Explorer.  And no, I’m not switching from DirecTV, because I like them too.  I know this will be worked out, I just wish it wasn’t putting viewers in the middle of this game they are playing.  Shut Up and Play Nice!

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