DirecTV subscribers could lose such popular shows as "SpongeBob SquarePants" as early as midnight tonight due to its contractual impasse with Viacom. (Nickelodeon / July 10, 2012)
DirecTV subscribers may lose popular channels owned by Viacom Inc. including MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon as early as Wednesday if the two companies are unable to come to terms on a new distribution deal.
Viacom said on its website that its current contract with DirecTV expires at midnight Tuesday and no agreement is near.
"Despite our best efforts, DirecTV has rejected all of our proposals to renew our agreement," Viacom said, adding that the latest offer from the satellite broadcaster is for a lower rate than Viacom said it gets from any other distributor in the industry.
DirecTV, which has about 20 million subscribers around the country, countered that Viacom is being greedy. Viacom wants a 30% increase, or an additional $1 billion, to carry its channels, DirecTV said in a statement.
Although the current pact expires at midnight, DirecTV said it is willing to continue carrying the channels while the two sides negotiate, but Viacom has resisted that offer.
Fights over new agreements between programmers and distributors are commonplace in the industry. Typically, a deal is reached without viewers losing service, but it does happen on occasion. Satellite broadcaster Dish Network, for example, recently stopped carrying AMC and its sister channels as part of a dispute.
Besides Comedy Central, MTV and Nickelodeon, other Viacom channels include Spike, VH1 and TV Land.
While negotiations appear stalled, later this week Viacom Chief Executive Philippe Dauman and DirecTV chief Mike White will both be at the Allen & Co. conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, so maybe they can get some alone time to hammer out a new deal.
From the LA Times Company Town Blog