The two companies could not reach an agreement on subscriber fees before their seven-year deal expired. Both are blaming each other for the blackout.
DirecTV had recommended that its customers watch Viacom-owned shows via the Internet, but on Wednesday afternoon, Viacom took action to make that more difficult. It blocked online access to episodes of “The Daily Show,” “Jersey Shore,” and some other popular shows.
DirecTV said in a statement early Tuesday morning that it had offered Viacom “increased fees for their networks going forward; we just can’t afford the extreme increases they are asking for.” DirecTV characterized Viacom’s request as a 30 percent increase, equivalent to “more than a billion dollars extra.” Viacom countered by saying that its current deal was seven years old.
“We proposed a fair deal that amounted to an increase of only a couple pennies per day, per subscriber, and we remained willing to negotiate that deal right up to this evening’s deadline,” Viacom said in a statement shortly after midnight Eastern time. “However, DirecTV refused to engage in meaningful conversation. We are hopeful that DirecTV will work with us toward a resolution and stop denying its subscribers access to the networks they watch most.”
DirecTV, in a competing statement, asserted that it tried hard to get Viacom to continue to negotiate, but “never heard back” from the company.
With 20 million subscribers, DirecTV is the country’s second-largest television service provider, behind only Comcast. DirecTV customers make up nearly 20% of all U.S. cable and satellite subscribers, according to SNL Kagan.
No word on when the regular programming will begin again.
Earlier this month, Dish Network dropped AMC Networks. Dish (DISH, Fortune 500) reaches about 14 million homes. The standoff continues…