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DIRECTV Vs Viacom: Day 6
(July 16, 2012)
-- The nearly week-long programming dispute with Viacom may be
getting to DIRECTV CEO Mike White. In a new video posted by
DIRECTV, the satellite chief seems to be advocating a la carte
programming -- allowing viewers to only pay for the channels
they want to watch.
DIRECTV was forced last Tuesday night to remove 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, VH1, TVLand, Logo, CMT and Palladia.
"At the very least, we think Viacom should be willing to give your family the choice to pay for only those channels you watch" White says in the new video, which can be seen on DIRECTV and at the satcaster's web site.
The comment has already stirred a mini-frenzy on Internet message boards and social media sites with posters saying DIRECTV should put its money where its mouth is and launch an a la carte service immediately.
DIRECTV and other TV providers have long maintained that a la carte would destroy their business models because viewers would order fewer channels and thereby spend less on programming. Consequently, the providers offer channels in bundles, which ensures subscribers pay more per month although they may not watch all the channels in the bundle.
While it's likely that White misspoke and actually is urging Viacom to allow DIRECTV to carry some of Viacom's 26 channels, his remark is causing his company a bit of an embarrassment because it appears he's advocating a policy his company has long opposed.
In other DIRECTV/Viacom news:
* DIRECTV said yesterday that some progress is being made in talks between the two companies, but it did not elaborate.
* Viacom on Sunday ran a full-page ad in The New York Times urging DIRECTV subscribers to switch providers.
* DIRECTV added Disney Junior on Saturday to help appease viewers upset over the loss of Nickelodeon. Disney Junior, however, is not available in high-def.
* DIRECTV on Sunday began free previews of PBS Sprout (Ch 295), The Hub (Ch 294), TV One (Ch 328), and Fuse (Ch 339), all of which will be available for free during the Viacom dispute, the satcaster says.
* Finally, a group of DIRECTV customers started a petition at Change.org to support DIRECTV's stance against Viacom. The group is urging people to sign the petition as a show of force.
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