Viacom Is Pounded Again By Directv-- And By Jon Stewart
DirecTV is stepping up its attack on Viacom, which yanked its channels, including MTV, Nickelodeon, and Comedy Central off the satellite service last week following a breakdown in talks over a new carriage contract. In a video message running on the blanked-out channels DirecTV CEO Mike White lashes out at the "bundling" practices of some content providers in general and Viacom in particular. While Viacom argues that the increases it is requesting amount to only "pennies," those pennies quickly add up when they are charged for each of the more than two dozen channels that Viacom requires satellite and cable companies to air. "At the very least, we think Viacom should be willing to give your family the choice to pay for only those channels you watch," White says in the video. Some of those channels, like Palladia and Tr3s, have audiences that are so small that they can't be adequately measured. Meanwhile, Viacom on Monday restored some of the programming that it had pulled offline following the breakdown in talks with DirecTV. It did so just in time to be ridiculed by Jon Stewart, whose Daily Show is carried by Viacom-owned Comedy Central. "You're pulling the shows from the Internet?! Viacom! What are you, China?" Stewart thundered. "You don't think the kids already have a workaround? ...You're basically blocking old people from watching the show."