Viacom channels pulled from DirecTV

More than two dozen Viacom Inc. channels -- including Nickelodeon, MTV and Comedy Central -- were blacked out for DirecTV subscribers after the companies failed to reach an agreement on programming fees.

Jeremy Hobson: DirecTV customers will have to live without Nickelodeon, MTV, and Comedy Central for now. The company that owns those channels, Viacom, is in a contract dispute with DirecTV. Viacom says it wants more money for its programming, DirecTV says it doesn't want to pass on more costs to consumers.

Sally Herships has more.


Sally Herships: The Viacom/DirecTV dispute is a lot simpler than the plot of some complex soap opera. Viacom wants you to blame DirecTV.

Viacom Ad Announcer: Direct TV is taking Nickelodeon away from you. That means no more SpongeBob.

SpongeBob: Will you help me?

Announcer: No more Dora.

Dora: I need your help.

Announcer: No more iCarly.

Carly: Shut your mouth.

Mike White, DirecTV CEO: Unfortunately, Viacom has decided to take their channels away from our customers.

While DirecTV has 20 million subscribers, their ads and Viacoms may be more dramatic than the actual dispute.        

Mike Farrell: It’s not like it hasn’t happened before, and it’s happening more and more now.

Mike Farrell is senior finance editor at Multi-channel news. He says disagreements like these, around contract renewal time are typical. Viacom says it’s only asking for a couple of pennies per day more, per subscriber.

But DirecTV says that adds up to a billion dollars. Farrell says the real plot twist is Viacom asking for more money in a when its ratings are sinking.

I’m Sally Herships for Marketplace.

About the author

Sally Herships is a regular contributor to Marketplace.

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