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A week into a carriage dispute that has left DirecTV subscribers without 26 Viacom channels, including MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central, Viacom is suggesting that a deal could still be a long ways off.
“In sharp contrast to DirecTV’s spin, it’s now clear that they have no intention of working with us to expedite a resolution and return our 26 networks to DirecTV subscribers,” Viacom blogged late Wednesday afternoon.
“We know it’s been a long week for frustrated DirecTV customers who lost their Viacom channels,” says the blog post. “Unfortunately, we have not seen any urgency from DirecTV in working constructively with us on the compromise that could have already brought back your channels.”
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DirecTV’s response indicates the two can’t even agree on how many channels were pulled.
“Viacom’s current statement on our negotiations is completely inaccurate,” DirecTV said Wednesday. “They made a public proposal last night for our carriage of the 17 channels they pulled from DirecTV and we accepted all material terms for those channels including an increase that was more than fair. We are ready to close this deal at anytime and restore those channels to our customers.”
According to DirecTV, the sticking point is that Viacom is insisting that EPIX be carried at an additional cost of more than $500 million.
“We know that our customers don’t want to pay such an extreme price for an extra channel, they simply want the ones they had returned to them,” DirecTV said.
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Meanwhile, Viacom is also waging its war of public opinion against DirecTV by running ads on an online clip of Jon Stewart joking about the carriage dispute during his Monday show on Comedy Central.
“This is a bad situation. DirecTV dropped MTV,” the ad states, before cutting to Snooki saying, “What?” The ad includes clips from Dora the Explorer, South Park, iCarly, SpongeBob SquarePants and The Colbert Report.
As for the five-minute clip from The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, it begins with Stewart welcoming viewers back after a two-week break. “Well, not all viewers,” he says. “Funny, funny story.”
He then segues into news clips about the carriage dispute and says:
“So if you’re a DirecTV customer not watching tonight, it’s not because a rain cloud passed in front of the satellite.”
Watch the segment below.
After another news clip announces that Viacom has pulled shows off the Internet (it later put two shows, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, back online), Stewart asks in amazement:
“You’re pulling the shows from the Internet? Viacom — what are you, China? By the way, you don’t think the kids don’t already have a workaround? This morning when I woke up, my 8-year-old son was watching The Dark Knight Rises in 3D!”
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