American media giant Viacom’s ongoing dispute against satellite TV provider DirecTV is now affecting the presence of programmes related to the two online, as DirecTV outlets have stopped airing on-demand content of Viacom’s networks at the request of their current legal rival.
In a dispute over how much third-party distributors such as themselves should pay to gain access to the content, DirecTV have seen their selection of Viacom content rendered inaccessiable by the content owners, with a removal from the DirecTV satellite service now joined by online catch-up episodes, which earlier this week had been suggested to its customers by DirecTV as a temporary alternative to watching on linear TV.
The arrangement is thought to have originally effect around 20 million satellite TV subscribers, with Viacom networks (including Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, and Spike) all off-air on the DirecTV service.
However with shows such as Jersey Shore, SpongeBob SquarePants, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report going offline as well, a general non-subscribing audience are also now missing out due to the problems between the two companies, though it has been noted that archived series on Hulu, and Viacom shows on different online contract systems (such as South Park) are still accessible online if a ‘Viacom fix’ is needed.
However, there is still the presence of internal complaints wherever you go in Viacom’s online domain (after they claimed to have removed the online content as a result of their rivals advertising their website as an alternative in the midst of the dispute), as pop-up adverts are on display, urging users to contact DirecTV and help to pressure them into working a resolution to the disagreement.
A DirecTV statement said of their side of the story: “Viacom is now not only holding DirecTV customers hostage, but all online viewers as well. Is this just another underhanded negotiating tactic, or does this mean that Viacom will no longer offer its content free online?”
The companies are said to be in negotiations over the right to air content from the 26 featured channels, but Viacom are claiming that DirecTV have currently only made ‘below market rate’ offers that do not match the asking price of $1b, a total which they claim to be ‘pennies per day per subscriber’. The negotiations could be resolved quickly or dragged out for months, but surely some of the 20 million disgruntled subscribers might try to veer them towards the quicker option?
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