In the Viacom/DirecTV Dispute, It’s All Viacom’s Fault, Says DirecTV

Here’s a quick update for all of you who are currently missing Comedy Central, MTV, and Nickelodeon (DirecTV customers) and Breaking Bad (Dish Customers).

— In the Viacom/DirecTV dispute, there’s still no deal in sight. The sticking point, at least according to DirecTV, is Viacom’s movie channel, Epix. DirecTV has asserted that the two companies came to an agreement in principle, but that negotiations fell apart because Viacom insisted that DirecTV carry Epix at a cost of $500 million a year. I’m a DirecTV subscriber, and I’ve never heard of Epix. A quick glance at their television schedule reveals that they are an awful lot of Rocky movies.

— In a press release, Viacom counters that they offered DirecTV agreements that both included and did not include Epix, but that DirecTV is showing little flexibility, according to the LA Times.

“I really don’t see any end in sight, truthfully,” said Denise Denson, Viacom’s executive vice president of content distribution. “Nothing about negotiating with them is productive.”

— Meanwhile, it looks like Viacom is taking the biggest hit. Again, according to the LA Times, the ratings for its Nickelodeon shows are down 20 percent. Meanwhile, the Disney Channel has seen an uptick of 20 percent, while Sprout (THE SUPERIOR NETWORK ANYWAY) has seen a ratings increase of 60 percent. Kids, clearly, are still finding a way to watch television and increase their waist size.

— The good news is, while Viacom has not returned all programming to the Internet, it has returned The Daily Show and The Colbert Report online, perhaps in response to Jon Stewart’s rant against Viacom.

— As for Dish customers, hoping to get AMC back before Breaking Bad ends its short 8-episode season, it doesn’t look good for you. Breaking Bad only gets 2.9 million viewers, and Dish is not too broken up about denying the show to its customers. According to Paid Content, Dish may not start worrying about the loss of AMC until October, as that’s when The Walking Dead — a show that gets over 7 million viewers — returns.

— In more minor carriage dispute news, Time Warner is engaged with its own dispute with Hearst Television, which operates around 30 local television stations around the country that reach about 18 percent of television watchers (including the ABC affiliate in my town, Portland, Maine). Unfortunately, negotiations aren’t going anywhere in that respect, either. On July 9th, Hearst made an offer that was within 5 percent of what Time Warner wanted, and Time Warner has yet to respond. I’m sure you’re all broken up over the loss of The Bachelorette.