Should "Striking" Cable Nets Allow Their Shows Online?
Viacom, which is engaged in the equivalent of a strike against DirecTV, and AMC, which is engaged in a similar action against DISH, are taking two opposite approaches to the Internet during the current crises. Viacom, whose channels went dark on DirecTV earlier this week, has pulled its shows off the Internet in an apparent effort to encourage viewers to demand that DirecTV agree to Viacom's demands for a substantial increase in payments for its programs. That tactic affects both DirecTV customers as well as cable customers. AMC, on the other hand, is making shows available online that had not been accessible previously. For example, it's streaming the fifth season premiere of Breaking Bad for free on Sunday. "AMC wants its loyal DISH viewers to experience the excitement of the Breaking Bad premiere at the same time as their friends and neighbors," the network said. It then added, "And we want to give DISH customers an extra week to switch providers so they can enjoy the rest of the season." Ironically, such a provider may very well be the same company that is providing their Internet service. Analysts have long noted that the inability of satellite services to provide Internet access may stunt their growth.