Viacom's 26 Channels Going Dark Tonight On Directv

One of the consequences of media consolidation and that the conglomerates can force distributors -- satellite and cable companies -- to find a spot in their systems for cable networks that they don't want in order to make deals for the ones that they do want. The same would appear to hold true when it comes time to negotiate new agreements between the media congloms and the distributors. Satellite provider DirecTV complained today (Wednesday) that Viacom is using its 26 channels (nine of which are HD duplicates) as leverage to force it t sign a new agreement by midnight tonight. Viacom's channels include the MTV networks, Nickelodeon, BET, Logo, Spike-TV, and Comedy Central. The operator claims that Viacom is demanding a 30-percent boost in payments that it would be forced to pass on to subscribers in the form of rate increases. For its part, Viacom said in a statement Tuesday night that "DirecTV provided Viacom with a counter proposal that included a lower rate than Viacom receives from any other distributor in the industry. With this offer, our negotiations have reached an impasse." It further noted that its deal with DirectTV is seven years old "which means that DirecTV has enjoyed way below market rates for Viacom's networks for a very long time."



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