If you scanned the headline of this story and thought "Didn't I read about this already?", there is a good reason for that. Less than two weeks after the very public battle between AMC Networks and the USA's second largest satellite provider Dish Network (that resulted in a still continuing blackout of AMC, IFC, and WE for Dish customers), DirecTV subscribers are now faced with a similar impending loss of popular channels.
One big difference between the two stories is sheer scale. AMC Networks only operates a few channels, which obviously doesn't amount to a gigantic loss in viewing choices for customers. Dish Network's subscriber base is also less than DirecTV and most of the bigger cable companies in the country. In today's scenario, over 20 million DirecTV patrons face losing access to 17 different channels, including fan favorites like Nickelodeon, MTV, and Comedy Central. The entire Viacom networks package is set to go dark at midnight tonight, barring a last minute agreement being signed.
As usual, the source of the impasse lies in the almighty dollar. DirecTV claims that Viacom is holding it up for an additional one billion dollars (that's billion with a B folks), and agreeing to such an increase would inevitably lead to a raise in rates for customers. Viacom is countering with the following arguments: 1. Viacom channels account for 20% of the service's viewership, while only receiving 5% of its programming fees, and 2. DirecTV is apparently offering them a lower rate than every single other TV provider in the nation.
These cases always effectively amount to a he said-he said back and forth, but if what Viacom is saying is true, their position sounds pretty reasonable. Then again, looking at it from the other perspective, one billion dollars is an ungodly amount of cash.
Who do you believe is more at fault here? DirecTV or Viacom?