After failing to reach an agreement, DirecTV dropped several Viacom channels including Spike TV, the home of TNA Impact Wrestling. The other channels that were dropped include Nickelodeon, MTV, VH1, BET, CMT, TV Land and Comedy Central.
Viacom was looking for a fee increase, arguing that they are the most-watched network operator on DirecTV and attract about 20% of all DirecTV's viewing, while only garnering 5% of their programming spend. Viacom stated on a blog post that they are asking "for an increase of a couple of pennies per day per subscriber," which they note is "far less than DirecTV pays other programmers with fewer viewers than Viacom."
"We are deeply disappointed that DirecTV dropped Viacom's channels before our midnight deadline, severing our connection with its nearly 20 million subscribers nationwide," Viacom stated last night. "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. 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 claims that Viacom demanded that the channels be removed. According to DirecTV, their executives proposed new deals to Viacom both yesterday and today. They also sent a request to keep the channels active during negotiations, however never received a response and were forced to comply with their demand to take the channels down or face legal action.
"We have been very willing to get a deal done, but Viacom is pushing DIRECTV customers to pay more than a 30 percent increase, which equates to an extra $1 billion, despite the fact that the ratings for many of their main networks have plummeted and much of Viacom's programming can be seen for free online," said Derek Chang, DIRECTV executive vice president of Content, Strategy and Development. "Viacom sent us a letter last night that outlined our obligations to remove the channels by midnight or face legal action just as they were falsely telling viewers DIRECTV was responsible. Let's be clear, Viacom took these channels away from DIRECTV viewers.
"We have absolutely no problem compensating Viacom fairly, but they have now knowingly put our customers in the unreasonable position of either accepting their extravagant financial demands or losing some of their favorite TV shows," Chang continued. "We feel our customers should not have to pay more for these networks than the customers of any other TV provider. We reiterated this to Viacom today and have not heard back from them."
TNA continues to urge fans to contact DirecTV to bring back Spike TV and the other Viacom channels by calling DirecTV at (800) 531-5000. You can check out a message from Hulk Hogan asking fans to act below: