A fee dispute between satellite TV provider DirecTV and the Viacom network has reached viewers here in Lawrenceville. Viacom removed several of its networks, including MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central, from DIRECTV on Tuesday, according to media reports.
It is unclear how long the dispute will last. The two companies extended already extended a deadline to make an agreement but failed to reach one. As many as 20 million viewers are affected nationwide. A total of 17 channels are involved.
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DirecTV, which has subscribers all over the state, says Viacom is calling for a 30 percent fee increase.
“Programmers like Viacom typically won’t allow anyone to buy their channels individually, but we hope to change that,” DirecTV said in its statement on Tuesday morning. “We currently pay them hundreds of millions of dollars every year already, and if Viacom thinks their networks are worth a billion more, then you have to be able to select what’s most important in your own living room. It’s your money, so you should be able to decide.”
On its website, Viacom's statement read, "We are deeply disappointed that DirecTV dropped Viacom’s channels before our midnight deadline this evening, severing our connection with its nearly 20 million subscribers nationwide. We proposed a fair deal that amounted to an increase of only a couple pennies per day, per subscriber, and we remained willing to negotiate that deal right up to this evening’s deadline. However, DirecTV refused to engage in meaningful conversation. We are hopeful that DirecTV will work with us toward a resolution, and stop denying its subscribers access to the networks they watch most."