Phillip Swann is president and publisher of TVPredictions.com. He has been quoted in dozens of publications and broadcast outlets, including CNN, Fox News, Inside Edition, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Financial Times, The Associated Press and The Hollywood Reporter. He can be reached at email@example.com or at 703-505-3064.
Click TVPredictions.com to read more news and features on TV technology.
DIRECTV Vs Viacom: Day 9
(July 19, 2012)
-- How far apart are DIRECTV and Viacom in their negotiations to
return 26 channels to the satcaster's lineup?
They can't even agree on what they are disagreeing about.
Twenty-four hours after DIRECTV said the two sides were "closer" to a deal, Viacom yesterday said the talks have broken down.
"It's now clear that they have no intention of working with us to expedite a resolution," Viacom wrote at a company blog. "DIRECTV has moved backwards significantly and created more obstacles to reaching an agreement."
told The Los Angeles Times that "there was no deal in sight."
DIRECTV lashed back, saying it was ready to sign a deal for the 26 Viacom channels when suddenly Viacom insisted that the premium movie channel, EPIX, be included in the deal for a princely sum of $500 million extra.
"Viacom insists that we carry the EPIX channel at an additional cost of more than half a billion dollars," DIRECTV stated at its web site. "We know our customers don't want to pay such an extreme price for an extra channel, they simply want the ones they had returned to them. "
Viacom, of course, immediately denied the charge, saying it included EPIX in some proposals, but not in others. The company maintained that EPIX's inclusion was not a deal requirement.
Then to further the disagreement, DIRECTV started alerting their subscribers on Twitter and at its web site that Viacom's statement was "inaccurate" also because the negotiations had not broken down. In fact, DIRECTV said on Twitter that "we'll be back negotiating with Viacom in the AM to reach a final deal. Too close to turn back now."
Often in fee fights, it's darkest before the dawn. But last night featured a whole lot of darkness.
The fee fight forced DIRECTV nine days ago to remove the 26 Viacom channels when the two companies could not reach a new programming pact. (The channels affected include: all MTV channels, Comedy Central, all Nickelodeon channels, BET, Spike, all VH1 channels, TVLand, Logo, CMT and Palladia.)
DIRECTV has been posting a message on its on-screen guide saying it was trying to work out a deal with Viacom. But last night, the satcaster removed all references to the name, Viacom, stating simply it was trying to work out a deal.
It appears that the companies have reached the bitter stage.
In other DIRECTV/Viacom news:
* Citing rising programming costs, Time Warner Cable and Cox have issued statements supporting DIRECTV in the Viacom dispute. The statements from DIRECTV's rivals have led some to conclude that TV providers are united on this issue and won't try to exploit DIRECTV's weakness.
Comcast yesterday began running a radio ad saying DIRECTV now doesn't have Viacom channels such as Nickelodeon, but of course, Comcast does have those channels. Ergo, switch to Comcast, folks.
And The Hollywood Reporter noted that Dish has changed its Facebook page to emphasize it carries Nickelodeon.
Comment on this story below.
What do you think? Offer your comments below!