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There’s no clear winner in the stand off between DirecTV and Viacom, but there are plenty of losers, most specifically all of the service’s subscribers who are now without Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Spike, BET, VH1 and others. The channels, seventeen in all, went dark at midnight EST last night, and for the time being, there seems to be no clear solution within reach.
As always happens in these sorts of disputes, both companies are now taking their anger and hostility public in the form of bitchy quotes, complex, one-sided breakdowns and overt animosity. At some point, the two sides will have to come back to the negotiating table and settle. A company can’t claim to have even a halfway decent television package that doesn’t include Nickelodeon, MTV and Comedy Central, and Viacom will lose millions by suddenly not having access to DirecTV’s twenty million subscribers. A long-term blackout would be a disaster for all involved, but in the short-term, each seems willing to try and wait the other out.
According to Deadline, Viacom is trying to spin the argument by saying it’s only asking for pennies more per day from the carrier. DirecTV is spinning the argument by saying those pennies will total more than a billion dollars over the lifetime of the contract. Neither side is lying, but it seems obvious we’re not getting all the facts either.
I don’t have DirecTV, but if you do, my sympathies go out to you for having to deal with this bullshit. Here’s to hoping a deal gets struck sooner rather than later.