Imagine you are an all-star professional athlete. After your first few years as a pro, your remarkable abilities have been obsessed over, fans love you and you, of course, love the game.
But this makes you wonder, ‘Am I really milking this for all that it’s worth, or am I worth more?’ Your contract is expiring and, after all, money makes the world go ‘round.
So, would you stick with your fan base, team and the original contract — that you feel isn’t paying enough — or would you stand up and say you deserve more for your hard work?
On July 11, Viacom’s programming — which included 26 channels– was removed from DirecTV. Such programming included popular channels such as MTV, VH1, BET, Comedy Central, CMT and Spike. This, apparently, resulted because the companies could not agree on a fair distribution price.
According to Robert Mercer, the senior director of public relations for DirecTV, the company is protecting its customers by not giving in to Viacom’s requests for more money.
“To put it briefly and simply, Viacom is demanding an over 30%, or an extra $1 billion, to carry the same channels, some of which are in a ratings decline and are offered online for free,” Mercer said in an email.
“The last proposal DirecTV had made was lower than anyone else pays in the industry, and a deal we said we would not do out of fairness to other distributors,” Denise Denson, executive vice president of content distribution and marketing said in a statement on Wednesday.
Despite plenty of he said, she said, a resolution has yet to be reached, leaving 20 million DirecTV customers without Viacom programming for five days, as of midnight.
“I’m paying for the service and I don’t have it,” Emily Rhoades, a DirecTV subscriber said.
Rhoades, a rising junior at Missouri State University majoring in business, said the missing Viacom channels make up 50 to 75% of the shows watched by her and her roommates. Despite paying about $20 a month, Rhoades said she isn’t able to watch the majority of shows she looks forward to.
“I thought by now it would be over,” Rhoades said. “I thought we’d be given more information, but it’s very, very vague.”
Now, when DirecTV subscribers turn on Viacom channels, a looped message from the company’s CEO appears. To make up for missing channels, DirecTV has added Encore movies and mixed channel programming that could substitute for missing content.
“I definitely think a discount for the time frame that we didn’t have the channels would be a huge benefit,” Rhoades said. “We already have HBO and all the other movie channels with way better movies than Encore so to me, that didn’t really benefit me.”
Ethan Kelly, a soon-to-be senior at Missouri Western State University, said he has been a happy DirecTV subscriber for 14 months, enjoying free HD and extra access to content on Sundays.
But, as a loyal viewer of Comedy Central and MTV, Kelly said he has missed out on the majority of the programming he watches.
“I’m not mad at DirecTV for standing up and saying no to them,” Kelly said. “It’s just unfortunate that I don’t have the main channels I watch. I think it’s silly for Viacom to charge 30% more for these channels that they put free streaming of online.”
Kelly said he supported DirecTV’s decision to work for a better price for its customers, but also said he thinks a resolution will result soon.
While JWoww, Snooki, the Real World cast and many many more from the Viacom family are missing from DirecTV, it seems that customers will wait for the programming to come back.
In the meantime, it looks like DirecTV subscribers better find a new place to watch their favorite shows, as it seems a compromise may take some time.
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