Viacom, DirecTV trade salvos in content battle
DirecTV says Viacom requires it to carry EPIX channel for an additional half a billion dollars, a cost that would be passed on to customers. Meanwhile, TV fans are still stuck with a blackout of Viacom shows on DirecTV.
Viacom fired another shot at DirecTV today, telling DirecTV customers that the satellite provider won't compromise with Viacom to restore programming.
Viacom continues to keep 26 networks -- including MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, BET, VH1, Spike TV, TV Land, and CMT -- off DirecTV until the companies reach an agreement.
Viacom said in a blog post that DirecTV has "no intention" of working with Viacom and shows no "urgency" in compromising.
"We made a significant and comprehensive compromise proposal to DirecTV last Thursday that could have resulted in restoring all of our services to DirecTV subscribers by Friday morning. We have since made several additional compromise proposals -- even as recently as last night -- to find a resolution acceptable to DirecTV," the blog said. "Unfortunately, DirecTV has moved backwards significantly and created more obstacles to reaching an agreement. Rather than fulfill its promise to subscribers for a quick resolution of this negotiation, it now appears that DirecTV will continue to purposefully and indefinitely deprive its subscribers..."
DirecTV called Viacom's statements about negotiations "completely inaccurate." The provider told CNET in a statement that it had accepted all material terms, including an increase in cost, to restore 17 of the channels, but the cost was too high.
It's been a rough back-and-forth between the two companies since they began arguing over how much DirecTV should be paying for content. After Viacom pulled its shows off DirecTV, DirecTV told its subscribers to watch the shows on the Web. Viacom responded by darkening its Web sites last week. Now Viacom is hurling some harsh words (with some peppered in its various blog posts) at DirecTV amid negotiations.
DirecTV said it is ready to close a deal.
"We are ready to close this deal at any time and restore those channels to our customers," DirecTV said in its statement. "However, as part of that offer, Viacom insists that we carry the EPIX channel at an additional cost of more than half a billion dollars. We know our customers don't want to pay such an extreme price for an extra channel, they simply want the ones they had returned to them. We stand ready and willing to work with Viacom to get this done and, once again, ask Viacom to do the right thing and restore these channels to our customers immediately."
In the meantime, Viacom is encouraging DirecTV customers to seek out other providers through a dedicated site titled "When DirecTV Drops." Ouch.
We've contacted Viacom for comment on DirectTV's claims and will update this post when we know more.