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Thanks to Viacom, DirecTV users won’t have to fight over the remote

directv071112_optBY BOB HOLT
NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM

The effects of the removal of Viacom programming from DirecTV Tuesday night may be felt throughout New Jersey.

Subscribers have been told on blog postings and YouTube videos that no Viacom means no Jersey Shore, no Daily Show, and no Colbert Report. Daily Show host Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are both New Jersey natives. Both are currently in repeats, but return next week.

As a result of the contract dispute between DirecTV and Viacom, the unthinkable has happened without advance warning. That’s the take from Blog.Viacom after DirecTV dropped 26 Viacom channels from its programming lineup at 11:50 p.m. July 10.

Channels that disappeared include Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, MTV, BET, VH1, CMT, Logo, Spike, TV Land, MTV2, VH1 Classic, Palladia, Nick Jr., NickToons, TeenNick, Nickelodeon West, Tr3s, Centric, MTV India, Nickelodeon HD, Comedy Central HD, MTV HD, BET HD, VH1 HD, CMT HD and Spike HD.

Viacom’s official statement said: “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 right up to this evening’s deadline. However, DirecTV refused to engage in meaningful conversation.

Derek Chang of DirecTV said, according to the Washington Post, “We have been very willing to get a deal done, but Viacom is pushing DirecTV customers to pay more than a 30 percent increase.”

He said that 30 percent amounts to about $1 billion. And the money is making both companies blame each other. According to Tulsa World, Chang said 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."

Part of the dispute appears to involve bundling of channels, when well-known channels are packaged with many that are not for a price. “Programmers like Viacom typically won’t allow anyone to buy their channels individually, but we hope to change that,” DirecTV said, according to The New York Times. “If Viacom thinks their networks are worth a billion more, then you have to be able to select in your own living room. It’s your money, so you should be able to decide.”

 

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