The dispute between DirecTV and Viacom escalated at midnight when DirecTV dropped the Viacom channels from their lineup. The result is Spike TV is no longer available to DirecTV customers. Both sides are expected to continue talks in hopes of reaching an agreement that will resolve the issues.
The dispute is over renewal of the agreement that allows DirecTV to air the Viacom channels. The previous agreement is 7 years old and Viacom claims they were asking for a few pennies per customer as an increase, while DirecTV countered that Viacom was asking for a 30% increase.
During the hours leading up to last night’s midnight deadline, DirecTV customers saw dueling scrolls at the bottom of the screen on Viacom channels. Viacom was urging customers to contact DirecTV, while DirecTV was scrolling that Viacom was asking for an increase of $1billion.
Disputes such as this are common, but rarely result in interruptions of service. The Viacom channels include some of the more popular channels on cable, and it is unlikely either side would want an extended interruption. Negotiations are likely to continue, and the matter should be resolved quickly – especially if there is backlash in the form of customer defections to Dish or Cable systems that do carry the Viacom channels.
If service isn’t returned by Thursday, TNA fans will not be able to watch IMPACT. TNA has urged their fans to reach out to DirecTV to speak out on the conflict and demand that Spike TV not be dropped.