Viacom Talent Urge People to Call AT&T, DirecTV Amid Contract Negotiations
The conglomerates' current carriage agreement is set to expire on Friday at midnight.
Trevor Noah, Lindsay Lohan, Abbi Jacobson, Pauly D and Nicole Polizzi, among other Viacom talent, are asking their social-media followers to call AT&T-DirecTV and post on their social platforms as the expiration date for the conglomerates' contract is set to expire Friday.
The stars of MTV, Comedy Central, VH1 and other channels shared the following message on Thursday, with some adding more personalized messages to the beginning or end of the form message. "AT&T-DIRECTV is about to drop MTV, VH1 and up to 21 other channels. If that happens you won’t be able to watch me on Lindsay Lohan’s Beach Club! Call 1-888-250-5557 and tell AT&T-DIRECTV to keep MTV. Go to http://keepviacom.com for more info. #keepviacom."
"If AT&T-DIRECTV drops @MTV ,we’re ALL gonna be newly inducted members of the IFF!" Jersey Shore star Pauly D wrote.
"I’m not catfishing you," Catfish's Nev Schulman added.
The messages come as Viacom and DirecTV's contract is one day away from expiring, and the two conglomerates are in negotiations for another deal. AT&T has already dropped Viacom channels from the DirecTV Now streaming service; the AT&T U-verse and DirecTV could be next.
"Unfortunately, AT&T is abusing its new market position by favoring its own content — which significantly underperforms Viacom’s — to stifle competition," Viacom said in a statement on Thursday about the negotiations. "AT&T-DirecTV’s behavior is also consistent with a recent pattern of gouging their customers by charging them higher prices for an inferior product with fewer channels. Especially troubling, AT&T-DirecTV is marginalizing diverse audiences in its new DTV packages and threatening to do the same with their existing products."
In its own statement, AT&T said, "We’re disappointed to see Viacom put our customers in the middle of their negotiations. We are on the side of customer choice and value and want to keep Viacom’s channels in our customers’ lineups. We hope to avoid any interruption to the channels some of our customers care about." The company added, "The facts speak for themselves: several of Viacom’s channels are no longer popular. Viacom’s channels in total have lost about 40% of their audience in the past six years. Viacom is a serial bad actor in these business negotiations and has repeatedly used these tactics with other distributors. Our goal is always to deliver the content our customers want at a value that also makes sense to them. We’ve always fought to get the best deal for our customers, delivering the content they want at a great value. We’ll continue to fight for that here."
The current carriage agreement between AT&T U-verse and DirecTV and Viacom expires at midnight on Friday. The Hollywood Reporter has reached out to AT&T-DirecTV, Comedy Central and MTV for comment.
See Viacom stars' posts below.
AT&T-DIRECTV is about to drop MTV, VH1 and up to 21 other channels. If that happens you won’t be able to watch me on Lindsay Lohan’s Beach Club! Call 1-888-250-5557 and tell AT&T-DIRECTV to keep MTV. Go to https://t.co/lM5t4NrkVj for more info. #keepviacom @MTV @lohanbeachclub pic.twitter.com/hEXZCjyFLm— Lindsay Lohan (@lindsaylohan) March 21, 2019
AT&T-DIRECTV is about to drop Comedy Central and up to 22 other channels. If that happens, you won’t be able to watch The Daily Show with me! Call 888-250-5557 and tell AT&T-DIRECTV to keep Comedy Central. Go to https://t.co/LZM2HQYIQN for more info. #keepviacom pic.twitter.com/szA9Ys73UE— Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) March 21, 2019
So, AT&T-DIRECTV is about to drop Comedy Central and up to 22 other channels. If that happens, you won’t be able to watch the series finale of Broad City! So call 888-250-5557 + tell them to keep Comedy Central. Go to https://t.co/8v15V9TahR for more info. #keepviacom pic.twitter.com/WNBJRmts8j— Abbi Jacobson (@abbijacobson) March 22, 2019