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Television Businesses The Almighty Buck

Viacom and DirecTV Reach New Agreement 139

Posted by Soulskill
from the glad-you-boys-could-work-it-out dept.
An anonymous reader writes "About 10 days after Viacom pulled 26 channels from DirecTV over a contract dispute, the two companies have finally come to an agreement that should have DirecTV fans in need of their MTV rejoicing. While precise details of the newly agreed upon contract weren't made public, Bloomberg is reporting that the new contract is for 7 years with Viacom set to receive more than $600 million a year from DirecTV. That represents a 20% payment increase from the previous contract and is slightly below the 30% increase, or $1 billion, Viacom was initially pushing for." The disturbing part of this dispute, to me, was how Viacom pulled its shows from the internet in addition to DirecTV. Advertising your side of the story is one thing, but going out of your way to directly frustrate viewers who are interested in your shows seems like bad business.
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Viacom and DirecTV Reach New Agreement

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  • 1. don't you have enough channels already in the US that 26 (potentially mediocre) channels get pulled. 2. has anyone seen the cost of an average bill in the US? my parent are paying something nuts, like 180USD/mo, for a bundled cable package, in rural Maine.
    • by Kenja (541830)
      1. Comedy Central is one of the few out of the thousand channels that's worth watching. 2. Prices vary based on what's in your package.
      • by acidfast7 (551610)
        1. I agree about a few of the Programs on Comedy Central (The Daily Show, for example) ... what else did they cut. 2. But, still 180USD/mo is really high. Actually, I think you guys are really strung along by the cell phone/TV providers :(
        • by Kenja (541830)
          My point was that without knowing what the bill is for, we cant say that 180$ is high. Perhaps there's a lot of pay per view porn on there? My bill is about the same, but includes 20MB internet, phone with unlimited long distance etc.
          • by EdIII (1114411)

            Perhaps there's a lot of pay per view porn on there?

            The bill would be more likely a $1000 per month then.

            Not being funny either. That shit is expensive. I know somebody that was acting as a legal guardian for a mentally challenged man and about $1500 dollars got racked up in one month. To make matters worse, the cable company flatly refused to offer any kind of assistance on the matter on the 2nd time around when they had lied about blocking it on the service, but still allowed it.

    • On point 1, these channels weren't just like CSPAN or some weird niche channel but were pretty popular channels such as nickelodeon and MTV.

      I've never understood cable though, if I'm paying for cable and the cable company is paying other companies for their content, shouldn't it be ad free? Wouldn't it just make more sense to be fully supported by ads or fully supported by the cable companies and their consumers?
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I've never understood cable though, if I'm paying for cable and the cable company is paying other companies for their content, shouldn't it be ad free?

        Why? Why would the cable company forego the ad revenue? Just cause ads bother you?
        It's not like people cancel or refuse to subscribe due to the commercials.

        • by EdIII (1114411) on Friday July 20, 2012 @01:52PM (#40716337)

          It's not like people cancel or refuse to subscribe due to the commercials.

          Oh YES they do. That is a reason why people are "cutting the cord" more and more each year, although the primary ones are cost and ease of use. Don't think it was coincidence that they shut off the Internet distribution channels at the same time either. It was paramount that during this dispute that people paying for cable did not get any kind of inkling of what a world without Cable TV could be like.

          I was an "early adopter" of Cable TV free lifestyle. It's a lot easier now than it was nearly 10 years ago too. Legal or not, there are more and more ad free distribution channels popping up each day.

          Once people experience ad free programming it becomes very addictive. You start to realize the incredible mind numbing bullshit you have to wade through just to get some programming. The times I have been over at friends houses watching TV with them, just channel surfing, was painful. It is close to 50% commercials now, and something like 80% of every channel you are flipping to is currently playing a commercial. I think they got smart and synced up their commercials so that you will be watching a commercial no matter what if you are surfing.

          People only put up with advertisements because they are complacent and/or don't know about a solution to not have them. It is not surprising that once a solution becomes available that people jump.

          Disturbing and bad business to pull their shows from the Internet? Any other action would have been like suicide for Viacom. As it stands right now, I guarantee you that non-trivial percentage of Viacom subscribers through DirectTV now have the knowledge and impetus to cut the cord for good.

          • by sootman (158191)

            > Once people experience ad free programming
            > it becomes very addictive.

            DVRs serve that purpose too. Like you, I've been living largely ad-free for about 10 years now. I'm happy with cable (satellite, actually... DirecTV, in fact) for several reasons.

            1) Internet problems do not lead to TV problems. Playback is always smooth.
            2) Works with any Internet service. (Or without, in fact. :-) ) Up until 6 months ago I was on 1.5MB down/256k up DSL which MAYBE would work with decent quality video (definitely n

            • by EdIII (1114411)

              DVRs serve that purpose too. Like you, I've been living largely ad-free for about 10 years now.

              Not completely ad-free.

              Internet problems do not lead to TV problems. Playback is always smooth.

              In some cases they are one and the same.

              TV pretty much JUST ALWAYS WORKS.

              Not in my experience. My father has been frothing at the mouth mad with outages with his TV service. Technicians constantly coming out, really bad artifacts on the stored video, wholly missing video, etc. It is by far not 100% as you imply.

              In fact, I would have to say that my experience with Netflix has been on par, or has exceeded, the experiences related to my by others with Cable TV.

              3) The UI is generally better than any other set-top box or app (like Hulu Desktop) on a traditional computer. (I still

              Well, that is an individual preference and quite solvable. I personally find the interface on Netflix and the WDTV Live series to be more than adequate and noticeably inferior or superior to the UI offered by any other products.

              4) There are LOTS of good shows (especially smaller shows from smaller networks) that aren't available online.
              5) No delay. Shows are still on TV first. I don't have to wait a day, or 3 days, or a week. When it's "on TV", I can watch it. Period.

              Well... technically they are available online, and if you live any farther west than the Midwest of the US you can be watching it at the same time it goes live.

              The bigger issue with most people is the availability of sports. That is not adequately addressed by online solutions.

              6) DVRs solve most of the problems (mainly, ads and scheduling) that people associate with traditional TVs.

              It does not solve the problems of advertisements at all. You still have to waste time skipping through them, waste storage space on them, and the content providers go batshit insane crazy with the lawyers and legislation any time technology comes up that would assist you in skipping said advertisements.

              Overlayed advertisements on programming are not addressed by DVR solutions at all, and not even by most illicit online solutions either. You need to either pay for a web download, pirate a web download, or otherwise obtain an ad-free, overlay-free source such as DVD or Bluray.

              7) I actually LIKE some ads. In particular, I like seeing ads during shows for other similar shows. If an ad looks good I'll watch it, and if turns out it wasn't good, I'll skip it next time it's on. I just prefer that to "If you liked this, you also might like..." kind of stuff. (I also like browsing books in a library or bookstore. Call me crazy.)

              Okay. You're batshit insane crazy dude :)

              Seriously, I do think you are an edge case. Only very few people (all of them on Slashdot) claim to like advertisements on TV. Actually, the only ones claiming to like it that I know in real life qualify it with, "Only in the Superbowl".

              Given the choice, most people would get rid of it.

              Browsing books is not the same as advertisement either. Totally different activity, and more importantly, initiated by you.

              9) I have nearly no incentive to EVER go to legally-questionable sites

              More and more it is becoming less legally-questionable. While I do "pirate" ad-free, overlay-free TV I claim the rights do so because they slam their content across my property wirelessly with two important conditions:

              1) I don't have to pay for it since it is broadcast television. I am only restricted by copyright law which says I cannot distribute, not that I cannot obtain.
              2) According to the FCC I must accept said signals and cannot interfere with them.

              That is the only thing legally-questionable that I do. With Netflix, Redbox, Amazon, and Zune I am very well covered on legal means of obtaining content cheaply without advertisements, and DRM free for purchases.

              Which is such a HORRIBLE misnomer, by the way--all you're doing is TRADING one cord for another. And both cords are controlled by the same companies, so if the day comes that they're losing too much money over here, they'll just raise the rates over there.)

              That's not accurate. Not every ISP has a vested interest, or is directly involved with Cable TV subscription revenues. DSL is a good example, and so is 4G wireless.

              DSL never had that bloated TV revenue in the first place so they will be far less inclined to try and raise their rates to a $100+ just because you don't have TV.

              Competition should sort that out nicely.

              Even if I am wrong, and end up paying $100-$150 a month for Internet service, I still win as a consumer versus what I had to put up with in the past:

              1) Television on demand.
              2) Television free of advertisements and overylays during programming. One way or the other, I will still get that. Even if it involves mesh networking and darknets.
              3) Vastly increased competition in content distribution channels.
              4) Free porn.
              5) Free porn.
              6) Free porn.
              7) Did I mention free porn?

          • Legal or not, there are more and more ad free distribution channels popping up each day.

            But do they include live sports? ESPN is the one channel keeping one of my relatives (call him MG) on Xfinity TV. Cable is still cheaper than season tickets to watch your favorite professional or collegiate sports teams, and WatchESPN.com requires signing in to a participating pay TV provider. And do they include live progressive-slanted political talk shows? MSNBC is the one channel keeping another of my relatives (call her Becky) on Xfinity TV.

            • by EdIII (1114411)

              Yes, sports are the one thing that has an absolute stranglehold on some people thereby preventing them from cutting the cord at all.

              Eventually, I think ESPN will figure out that they can make more money by offering their product directly on the Internet. Right now they agree to only do so if the customer is still with the Cable companies, but I don't think that will last forever.

              Once the numbers change around money will speak louder than any supposed allegiances between ESPN and the Cable companies ever di

      • by acidfast7 (551610) on Friday July 20, 2012 @11:55AM (#40714423)
        1. I wouldn't put MTV in the keep category. Perhaps in the 80s with Liquid Television and Remote Control. But, their reality TV is abysmal, at best. Nick is great for kids. 2. Yeah, the commercials really bug me. In most of the EU, there's a huge "Commercial" text on the screen with a timer counting down to 00:00 so you know when the programming will be back on. Sometimes, it's 5mins and it's great that I know exactly how long I have.
        • by characterZer0 (138196) on Friday July 20, 2012 @12:28PM (#40714987)

          Nick is great for kids

          Nick is not great for kids. Nick is great for lazy parents.

          • Nick is great for kids

            Nick is not great for kids. Nick is great for lazy parents.

            Indeed. If one ever wants (or needs because sometimes it is needed) to let/put a kid watch a TV show, let it be something of PBS, or at least the Disney Channel. But Nick. Some of those cartoons are just one letter away from saying the F word.

            • by pnutjam (523990)
              IMHO Disney is worse then Nick. Both have tween programming that heavily pushes boyfriend / girlfriend relationships at much too early an age and also tends to reinforce the idea that the strange kids never change and its ok to exclude someone. However, Disney is much heavier handed in their tween propaganda, Nick has more of a tendency to show various types of people in a positive light.

              I'm not sure it's intentional, more laziness on the writers part, but the story-lines will veer deeply into the I change
          • by sootman (158191)

            Lots of things are great for lazy parents. Many of these same things are good for active parents too. We watch Nick Jr. (among other channels) with our kid and he's learned a lot with that. When you have a kid, you are not magically transformed into an infinite supplies of creativity, information, and energy. It's good to have helpers. Like anything else, it can be used well, or not.

      • by MitchDev (2526834) on Friday July 20, 2012 @12:11PM (#40714687)
        I've said that for years. PLUS, if so many of Viacom's channels are primarily AD-supported (MTV and Nickleodeon runs TONS of commercials), pulling the channels off of Direct TV means fewer viewers, meaning the advertisers are getting ripped off by Viacom. Viacom and companies like it should be PAYING the cable and satellite companies to carry their channels. If you want to charge for access to the channels, those channels shouldn't be double-dipping and showing commercials as well....
        • by Obfuscant (592200)

          If you want to charge for access to the channels, those channels shouldn't be double-dipping and showing commercials as well....

          Your local newspaper has been doing this for decades. Yes, a few community papers do manage to pay for everything with ads, but most major full time papers are both subscriber and ad supported. Why would a video program provider be much different?

          The problem is if you charge the advertisers the full fare, then you'll have fewer advertisers and probably won't have enough money. If you charge the subscribers the full fare, you won't have enough subscribers and won't have enough money. Charge both and you c

          • by sjames (1099)

            Yet, local independent channels exist and they manage OKish when they have to pay for the syndicated content on one side and pay for the transmitter on the other. Expanding their broadcast area for free (by having cable carry them) should be a boon in itself without charging an 'access fee'. If the access expands enough, they can go on to save a ton of cash shutting the transmitter down and selling it off.

            • by Obfuscant (592200)

              Yet, local independent channels exist and they manage OKish when they have to pay for the syndicated content on one side and pay for the transmitter on the other.

              What does that have to do with being ad-free?

              Expanding their broadcast area for free (by having cable carry them) should be a boon in itself without charging an 'access fee'.

              Yep. Allows more ad revenue. That's the only money they get.

              If the access expands enough, they can go on to save a ton of cash shutting the transmitter down and selling it off.

              At that point they lose the must-carry protections and may have to pay the cable system to be carried. What they win by going non-broadcast they lose by having to pay to be seen at all. Not very good for a small station.

              I'm still not sure how this all relates to the dual-sourced revenue system that people think shouldn't exist for cable but seem not to mind at all for print.

              • by sjames (1099)

                The point is that it is entirely possible for a channel to turn a profit without double dipping.

                • by Obfuscant (592200)
                  The station you hypothesize about isn't ad-free. They're probably showing more ads because infomercials bring in money while real programming costs them.

                  They aren't being paid to be on cable because they are covered under must carry. They can't be paid and be must-carry. Once they try to be paid for cable carriage, they lose must-carry and dissappear from the cable altogether.

                  They also don't have a national distribution cost that a large satellite network does. That's a pretty big expense, which they don'

                  • by sjames (1099)

                    No, I only said the independent station doesn't double dip. The ads are their single dip. There is no need for them to charge a national satellite network an 'access fee' in addition to their ad revenue.

          • by MitchDev (2526834)
            Yeah, and those papers have been slowly dying because no one wants yesterday's news laden with ads and having to pay for it on top of everything compared to TV/Radio/Internet up to the minute news...
          • by pnutjam (523990)
            Print advertisers know that pay papers are going to people who read them, not inflated numbers where 500 are "distributed" to a grocery store and most are used to wrap fish. Free paper readers are not as valuable because the cannot be correctly quantified. That's not the case with television.
        • by pnutjam (523990)
          Kind of makes one understand why comcast can't grasp that Google is paying for internet service and their customers are also paying for internet service. They don't see a check from Google, so in their mind Google is a free loader.
      • by plover (150551) *

        HBO, Showtime, et al, are paid for and ad free. But they cost a lot more than the ad sponsored channels.

        I'd be interested in an a la carte solution, where I could pay for ad free Comedy Central and Discovery, but skip MTV entirely.

        • by EdIII (1114411)

          HBO, Showtime, et al, are dead and dying.

          The only thing they have going for them is the programming they can make on their own, which puts them squarely on the same footing as a company like Viacom, or an individual provider like SyFy.

          Where HBO and the like stood out was the relatively inexpensive access to large catalogues of movies. Netflix, Redbox, and to a much much lesser extent Blockbuster have been eating their lunch for years, and current on-demand offerings will kill them.

          The people I know, who ar

          • by ryanov (193048)

            They are nearly the only thing I watch. Their programming is excellent. The movies are a perk at this point.

          • by pnutjam (523990)
            Their original programming is great, and I would much rather watch my free on demand offerings from HBO or Showtime, then pay $4.99 to see it a month or two earlier. If I'm that interested, I will hit the redbox, or I saw it in the theater.
        • by pnutjam (523990)
          Then you should have been backing direct TV, because this was exactly their argument. If you are raising prices this much, let our subscribers choose which channels they want a la cart.
      • by cpu6502 (1960974)

        >>>pretty popular channels such as nickelodeon and MTV.

        I visited the DirecTV website last night, and they were providing alternate ways to watch your favorite channels. Basically a list linking to hulu and amazon. As I looked over the list, I found I really don't miss ANY of the channels. I watch iCarly on Nick, and that's about it. (And MTV's shows are rather sucky.)

        Also this is why Viacom pulled the shows off their websites. They didn't want DirecTV viewers to be watching the channels, even

      • by cpu6502 (1960974)

        >>> if I'm paying for cable and the cable company is paying other companies for their content, shouldn't it be ad free?

        The channels get most of their money from 20 minutes of ads each hour. The subscriber fees of ~50 cents per home/month are just an extra bonus.

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        I've never understood cable though, if I'm paying for cable and the cable company is paying other companies for their content, shouldn't it be ad free?

        It was, thirty years ago. At the time, everyone poo-pooed the idea of paying for TV, since everyone had been watching for free since the device was invented. Ten bucks a month for the OTA channels (which had commercials but no snow or ghosts) and a dozen or so very good, ad-free cable channels; empty-V (they played videos then, not stupid reality shows), Disc

    • I think it's somewhat analogous to video game consoles. If all you want to do is play games, you don't need both a Wii and an XBox. But if you want to play certain exclusive games that only come out on one or the other, then you need both.
    • by Hatta (162192)

      There are plenty of channels, but they all suck. Comedy Central is just about the only one worth watching, and that's just for TDS/TCR and South Park.

      Personally, I'd rather watch PBS kids than just about anything else on cable. Educational/Entertainment programming designed for 6 year olds insults my intelligence less than what usually passes as entertainment for mature adults.

      • by cpu6502 (1960974)

        >>> I'd rather watch PBS Kids than just about anything else on cable. Educational/Entertainment programming designed for 6 year olds insults my intelligence less, than what usually passes as entertainment for mature adults.

        I just found my new facebook status.
        Perfect.
        Dont watch Qubo though. I get it free off my antenna and tried watching it a few times, but it's pretty dumbed down (like toddler level).

        • by Hatta (162192)

          Cheers. You can remove that comma though, don't know what I was thinking there.

          • by EdIII (1114411)

            Cheers. You can remove that comma though, don't know what I was thinking there.

            I blame the educational programming on TV myself.

    • by cpu6502 (1960974)

      >>>my parent are paying something nuts, like 180USD/mo, for a bundled cable package, in rural Maine.

      That's higher than normal. Most people pay around $100/mo for TV + internet + phone. Add $7 or $10 for every extra TV.

      I live near 2 major cities, so I just use antenna for 40 channels. i.e. Free. Add the internet and phone, and my total is about $30 a month.

    • 1. don't you have enough channels already in the US that 26 (potentially mediocre) channels get pulled

      Do you watch channels or TV shows?

    • 1. Didn't even notice until I saw it in the news 2. My bill for DirectTV is $64/mo. When I had cable (Phoenix, AZ), it was $120/mo for cable and internet. Now it's $60/mo for upgraded internet. So for the same amount, I got more/better choices, more HD channels, fewer outages, and no increases for several years.

      I really didn't care about any of the Viacom channels. I rarely watch Comedy Central, MTV and VH1 are a waste, don't have kids, and the only CMT show I watched was Redneck Island. Funny show, but
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Don't miss it at all. More money in my pocket and time to spend on relationships that are important to me.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by morari (1080535)

      It's been about 7 years for me. I have a cheap Netflix account and a server full of ripped media. It all plays just fine through my Boxee at almost no cost at all. I don't watch more than a couple of hours of movie/television in any given day anyway. I pity people who have nothing better to do in life than sit around watching the latest reality show.

      • by acidfast7 (551610)
        actually, over here you get roughly 20 over the air channels for a "mandatory" 19€/mo. the general programming is quite bad (like dubbed NCIS/CSI/etc... but they carry all of the big events like the SuperBowl/World Cup/Euro Cup/Olympics and have a lot of reasonable movies as well (like MI1/2/3 when the new one came out) if you understand German, that is. Personally, the news quality is quite high and less blatantly politicized than CNN/Fox, and I find it good bargain.
    • by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Friday July 20, 2012 @12:14PM (#40714745)


      Area Man Constantly Mentioning He Doesn't Own A Television

  • One word: "Books" (Score:5, Informative)

    by gestalt_n_pepper (991155) on Friday July 20, 2012 @11:46AM (#40714249)

    And the public library is still free.

    • Free as in payed for with taxes. "Read a book" glosses over the reality that some people just prefer video entertainment, which is what the article is about.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Libraries don't have only books. It's where my parents get the DVD seasons they watch.
        • by EdIII (1114411)

          It's also where some men get their porn.

          AFAIK it's true. Was out and about one day in public talking about the fallacy of porn addiction in a sandwich shop and the topic shifted towards free porn on the Internet. A man that overheard us laughed and said you could get it for free at the library too and why pay for it. I gave him a weird look and asked if they didn't complain he was taking care of business at the library and he gave me one back and said that you just take it home with you.

          Anyhoo, libraries

    • Jon Stewart kinda ripped into Viacom [thedailyshow.com] about this which owns Comedy Central. "There are these devices I saw at the beach [shows a book] where you can hundreds if not thousands of different screens."
    • Obligatory Princess Bride quote:
      In my day, television was called "books"
    • I want my,
      I want my,
      I want my li-brar-y.

  • Based on my own experiences and recording history, Viacom is just so full of themselves. These past few days have given me a nice look at how Viacom fits into my entire my entire DTV subscription. Nothing that was blacked out by this shenanigan was any great loss.

    I could completely block Viacom channels permanently and barely notice it.

    So when the inevitable price increase comes, I will know who to thank and be certain that no Viacom channels are worth keeping a cable subscription over.

    • by MitchDev (2526834) on Friday July 20, 2012 @12:26PM (#40714941)
      That's part of the reason Cable/Satellite doesn't offer "build-your-own" packages where you can choose the channels you want....
      • by jedidiah (1196)

        At this rate, DTV may hit my personal "cut the cord" threshold.
        There's only so far these companies can go during a down economy. Beyond cheap bastards like me, Big Content and cable operators have to consider that people simply might not have the money to waste anymore.

        Viacom may a the straw that breaks some backs.

    • I'm a DirecTV subscriber, and I honestly never even noticed that I lost some channels. Must not have been anything important. I'm happy for them to lost those ones, and reduce my bill, but I'm sure that would never happen.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I hate that people are using 26 as the number. This number is including BOTH the standard definition and high definition version of the same @#$@# channel.

    • by Jeng (926980)

      So they aren't including the on-demand channels also?

      Or does DirectTV not do that? Ie: have free on demand channels for the channels you have.

      • Satellite doesn't have the bandwidth to do cable-style video on demand. Satellite Internet, for example, is capped at single-digit GB per month on a typical plan. So instead, satellite pay-TV providers assume that customers will have DSL, cable, or fiber Internet access and make deals with the networks and Internet VOD providers to provide VOD programming to subscribers.
  • DirecTV has 20M customers. $600M/year is $30/year/subscriber or $2.50 per subscriber per month.

    I like the Daily Show but doesn't $2.50/customer seem a bit high given they also have commercials?

    No wonder "basic cable" is now so expensive.

  • Really? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 20, 2012 @11:56AM (#40714427)

    "The disturbing part of this dispute, to me, was how Viacom pulled its shows from the internet in addition to DirecTV. Advertising your side of the story is one thing, but going out of your way to directly frustrate viewers who are interested in your shows seems like bad business."

    This was one of DirecTVs key complaints. Why should DirecTV pay for content that Viacom was giving away for free on the internet? Not really an incentive to "pay" for that same content.

  • 500 + 20% = 600

    500 + 30% != 1000

    • Yeah that puzzled me too. This is what I think they meant. 500 + 30% = 650 which is an increase of 150/year. Over the 7 year contract that comes out to 1050. There is your billion dollars.
    • The increase was $600M vs $1B, not the total amount! This suggests that Viacom was already receiving about $3 billion per year, and that now they'll be getting $3.6B instead of $4B.
  • by holmedog (1130941) on Friday July 20, 2012 @12:13PM (#40714719)

    I see so many comments here about "I went full media center" or "TV, who watches TV???". My main source of viewing material is League of Legends streams, but I still pay for DirecTV. Why? I have 3 children. NickJR is an amazing channel for kids under 7. It's one of two channels I let them watch without me being over their shoulders.

    And, yes, I have NetFlix. But, it works on one TV (the one with the PS3 on it which coincidentally is the same one with the HDMI to the PC). I have three televisions. My kids can easily watch NickJR in the playroom or bedrooms. That by itself makes me glad to pay the $70 a month that also lets me watch HD football and the occasional trash TV when I don't have anything else going on.

    TLDR; I'm more than willing to pay the $70 because it adds value to my household. I don't understand all the hate around here - don't use the service if you don't like it.

  • I think a 20% is more than "slightly below" the 30% increase Viacom wanted. I'm no DirectTV fan, but a 30% price increase is rather steep.

    As for as my mandatory "I don't pay for cable/satellite" post, I haven't paid since 2007 or so. I have TivoHD to record HD OTA and Netflix. I have more than enough to watch, and Netflix eventually gets many of my favorite programs that I used to watch on cable for $65+ per month. I'm not one of those people that has to see something the moment it comes out. Once you

  • Amazing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tailhook (98486) on Friday July 20, 2012 @12:36PM (#40715131)

    Redstone et al. at Viacom got exposed to a big hot reality beam during the last two weeks.

    The chronology of events is astonishing to me. Viacom pulls their content from DirecTV. DirecTV actually argues that their subscribers can get their Daily Show fix from the Internet thereby introducing millions of dearly paying subscribers to a delivery platform they had previously slouched away from. Viacom reacts to this by briefly pulling their content off the Internet, punishing millions of people that have never subscribed to DirecTV. Under pressure by their streaming advertisers and outraged Internet audience Viacom relents and puts the content back up!

    DirecTV should have held out longer. Viacom blinked when they discovered they couldn't abuse their audience with impunity. That's when you're supposed go for the jugular.

    • by gman003 (1693318)

      Ah, but if DirecTV had kept playing hardball, they would have lost face as well. By "caving", they arguably lost the battle (a 20% price increase over 7 years isn't *that* bad), but they're winning the war now. They got some great free advertising. You can bet nobody else is going to push hard when *their* contracts come up. Even Viacom is likely to go softer next time, if only to avoid a repeat.

      Lose the battle, win the war. That's a *good* strategy.

      • by Tailhook (98486)

        Settling for 20% vs 30% is mere negotiation. I'm convinced DirecTV could have gotten more; they had public sentiment and an apparently loyal customer base that was willing to hold out longer. Taking Viacom down another 5% or 10% was possible, I believe, with no risk of angering anyone outside the Viacom boardroom.

        The most important outcome by far is this; There was no DirecTV subscriber exodus for lack of Viacom content. People like Redstone will increasingly find themselves facing big carriers willing t

  • And *why* is that woe to us? Because you people, and sixty-two million other Americans, are listening to me right now. Because less than three percent of you people read books! Because less than fifteen percent of you read newspapers! Because the only truth you know is what you get over this tube. Right now, there is a whole, an entire generation that never knew anything that didn't come out of this tube! This tube is the Gospel, the ultimate revelation. This tube can make or break presidents, popes, prime

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