DirectTV and Viacom Settle Programming Dispute. But Do Customers Really Care?

For the last 10 days, 20 million consumers have suffered at the hands of two media titans—Viacom, the owner of MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon Networks (among others) and DirectTV, the country’s largest satellite provider.

You see, while Viacom and DirectTV have been bickering negotiating over a new contract, 26 Viacom networks have been off the air—consumers held hostage while titans negotiate. In a separate dispute, about 14 million Dish Network customers have been without access to AMC Networks channels since last month.

The disputes are about costs, and control. Suppliers want their networks included in cable provider’s lineups, and providers don’t want to pay more than they have too.

Prior to the agreement, DirecTV said in a blog post that Viacom was demanding a 30% increase in fees over the term of a new contract, amounting to more than $1 billion in additional costs. Viacom said its fees account for less than 5% of the satellite service's programming expenses, and that DirecTV enjoyed below-market rates "for a very long time."

Sadly, this is a distraction isn’t addressing the bigger issue in the marketplace, consumers are getting tired of the old programming/supplier monthly subscription model—paying for programming they don’t watch, or want to watch. They’re angry at both the providers and suppliers, with blackouts and bickering making consumers even more aggravated at the parties involved.

Source: Bloomberg News via AdAge.

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