Direct TV-Viacom impasse means Spike TV, MTV, other channels blacked out

July 10, 2012

Ad Age reports that negotiations between Direct TV and Viacom have reached an impasse and Viacom-owned networks on the DTV will be pulled July 10th at midnight as a result.  For MMA and pro wrestling fans, it means that they will be left without Bellator and TNA Wrestling until an agreement can be reached.

The blackout would affect DTV’s 19.9 million customers.  Viacom made the impasse known in a blog post on Monday.  The contract between the two actually ended June 30th but was extended 10 days in attempt to reach an agreement.

Via Viacom’s blog:

Viacom is asking DirecTV for an increase of a couple of pennies per day per subscriber. That’s far less than DirecTV pays other programmers with fewer viewers than Viacom. Viacom has always been open to negotiating and hopes to get a deal done

Direct TV counters that Viacom is asking for 30% more than it already receives which DTV states is $1 Billion more per year. It also pressures for an “a la carte” structure in which viewers can pick and choose Viacom channels it wants.

DTV has set up a link which helps viewers find “Other Ways to Watch” Viacom programming.

In addition to MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central, SpikeTV will be blocked off from viewing for DTV customers.  Its the latest in the fight over retransmission rights:  the price a distributor (e.g., Direct TV) pays for a bundle of channels from a programmer (e.g. Viacom).  As programmers seek higher fees, distributors have challenged the rate hike.  The public fight results in a PR war and a game of chicken to see which company will concede.

The Ad Age article quotes industry analysts which predicted this dispute as ratings pressure on networks such as MTV and Nickelodeon have led to distributors to drop its channels.  Ratings on some networks have dropped causing distributors to rethink the bundling practice.

The popular AMC (“Mad Men”) channel was dropped by The Dish Network recently due to the fact it had to carry other low-rated networks.

Payout Perspective:

It appears that carriage disputes are becoming more common and as there are more ways to watch programming such as video on demand, online, iPads and mobile devices, programmers become concerned with the ratings for some of its networks.  For distributors, the concern is that it has to pay for programming bundles and push for a “pick and choose” way of accessing networks.  Of course, one might argue that distributors do not pass along the “pick and choose” networks to its subscribers and we must choose from a tier system.
What it means for combat sports fans is that DTV fans may be without access to Bellator and TNA Impact Wrestling.  This would hurt both companies considering Bellator’s build toward Spike TV.  Fortunately, it’s in its summer season and there are only a couple events scheduled for MTV2.  And those can be seen on  For TNA Wrestling, it is moving to 3 hours and just instituted a live format.  There’s more than TNA could lose considering its new changes while Bellator seems to be in a holding pattern until 2013.  While both programs are likely to be accessible over the internet, it forecloses a huge portion of the American viewing audience.

We will keep you posted on whether the blackout will happen.

17 Responses to “Direct TV-Viacom impasse means Spike TV, MTV, other channels blacked out”

  1. Harvey on July 10th, 2012 3:21 PM

    What is going on here ? This sounds like Barack Obama and Mitt Romney ! Personally, I could care less about stations like BET and Nickelodeon, but get this done ASAP. Something like this is a real inconveniance to alot of people.

  2. Cody Olson on July 10th, 2012 8:45 PM

    I can not believe this crap! It seems like direct tv is being really unfair to we the consumers by dropping the spike channel and others just because they are to fricken cheap to pay a few more pennies per day to offer the same channels that are in our package deal that we are paying to get! It is not the consumers fault that the price went up with viacom we already paid direct tv to see these channels and we are not getting what we have paid for! I smell a class action lawsuit by we the consumers! I bet it will cost a lot more than paying the little bit extra viacom is asking for! I am not happy instead of just leaving the channel blank you should be playing something worth watching!

  3. michelle marinaro on July 11th, 2012 3:11 AM

    charging more money for those channels is unfair i will go back to when i was younger and use the channels we had paying for tv is unfair we pay to much now and now you want us to pay more the economy is so bad and you are crazy nickelodeon is the only channel my grandson watches all of his showes are on that channel now when he gets up and cant watch his shows you come and deal with him he is learning with the shows on that station and you turned it off i refuse to pay anymore money for tv you are out of your mind i will go back to channels 3,6,10,29,17,57 and keep my mony in my pocket

  4. rafael rodriguez on July 11th, 2012 4:48 AM

    Say no to viacom.No increase, a couple cents a day means a few dollars a month.keep viacom off the air until they go broke[ that should’nt take long since they are also losing money they receive from their sponsers] then they will have to sell off and some other company will take over.When Vacom said it would cost a couple of cents a day. They are insulting our inteligence.Our bill a
    is determined monthly and Viacom calculating a daily rate has smells of a sneaky rat.No,No, No,to any increasesand greed,

  5. Sampson Simpson on July 11th, 2012 9:44 AM

    Not good for BFC. They’ll need wide distribution next year.

  6. mike on July 12th, 2012 2:48 AM

    I thing its outragious what is going on .Its all about money and greed .I pay enough for Direct TV now so if they raise the bill i will switch or go with out service all together .Wake up Viacom and Direct TV people are fed up

  7. guida on July 12th, 2012 2:34 PM

    Look I like my wrestling and this has really made me up set Isn’t there another way to get tna on another channel that we watch? This is crazy and not pleasant at all get our wrestling channel back on 241 spike please.

  8. guida on July 12th, 2012 2:40 PM

    I want my spike back what do we do if they do not give the spike channel back?
    I all ready pay 65.00 a month and that is the special because I could not let them take money off of my card because I do not get paid till the first and the third of the month, and we are hearing that you took viacom off just get our channels back tonight and now. I lose my channels I will go back to cable and I am not playing I like my spike.

  9. betty on July 12th, 2012 4:15 PM

    keep at it direct t.v !

  10. BrainSmasher on July 13th, 2012 12:15 AM

    It really piss’ me off that they can take off channels that we are contracted to get and have paid for. I bet if enough people called their attorney general and reported them to the Better Business Bureau we might see some shit change. Our bill wont change 1 cent yet we are missing a large portion of the channel package we signed up for. Customers should be compensated or contracts with content providers needs to coincide with customer channel package contracts.

  11. Jason Cruz on July 13th, 2012 6:41 PM

    DTV will only give you a $5 credit for the next 3 months if you call and complain. Can anyone do anything better than this?

  12. Jon Shoemake on July 13th, 2012 6:59 PM

    so spike tv is blacked out if direct tv and viacom cant agree we the people who pay you stinking bills are the ones who suffer this is a load of crap if you all want to have a pissing contest do it at your own expense not ours this is the defanition of low,classless,gutless spineless i could on so in closeing if you want to remain having a buisness then bring back what we want and stop makeing us pay for your own short commings

  13. Christie on July 16th, 2012 2:56 PM

    Well I received 20 for a year and no DVR cost for a year with Direct tv… And $5 for 6 months a total of $33.00 monthly.. Okay for now but really would prefer channels back.

  14. Francisco on July 19th, 2012 1:00 PM

    i sick and tired of direct it was channel 7 now this was the direct tv need more money or what please we need the channel back florida his so mad with this mess

  15. Paul E. on July 20th, 2012 11:53 AM

    Thank you ! I got my spike tv & my comedy central back ! I don’t know what was done , but thank the tv gods ( lol ) ! I’ve already missed 2 weeks on TNA ! $ is the root of all evil ( that’s what ” they ” say ) but at least I got my channels back !

  16. Jason Cruz on July 20th, 2012 7:13 PM

    And while you were gone, TNA cancelled the third hour of its Thursday night programming.

  17. Destynii Green on September 17th, 2012 7:12 PM

    sorry but its not direc tvs fault. this is all viacoms fault. dtv was not about to raise the prices because viacom wanted more money and dtv would rather loose programing the to raise the rates of its customers.

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