DirecTV customers were left without Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central and 14 other channels today, after Viacom dropped its networks from DirecTV at approximately midnight EDT. DirecTV executives reached out to Viacom both yesterday and today with a new proposal and a request to keep the channels on while we continued to negotiate, but never heard back, so DirecTV had to comply with their demand to take the channels down or face legal action.
The DirecTV Kids' Mix Channel will help parents find programming alternatives when they tune to any children's network removed by Viacom to try to force DirecTV customers to pay a 30% rate hike for the same Viacom channels they get today.
"We have been very willing to get a deal done, but Viacom is pushing DirecTV customers to pay more than a 30 percent increase, which equates to an extra $1 billion, despite 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," said Derek Chang, DirecTV executive vice president of Content, Strategy and Development. "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."
On its Website www.DirecTVpromise.com, an information resource for customers affected by programming disputes, DirecTV pointed out that Viacom is demanding an exorbitant increase for many Viacom channels that customers may never watch. DirecTV stated that if Viacom believes all of its networks are worth so much extra money, DirecTV customers should have the right to choose which Viacom channels they want to pay to keep and which ones they don't.
"We have absolutely no problem compensating Viacom fairly, but they have now knowingly put our customers in the unreasonable position of either accepting their extravagant financial demands or losing some of their favorite TV shows," said Chang. "We feel our customers should not have to pay more for these networks than the customers of any other TV provider. We reiterated this to Viacom today and have not heard back from them."