It’s been a while since the phrase “carriage fee” has been such a hot-button issue. The two huge disputes raging on between Viacom and DirecTV and Dish Network and AMC have both taken very drastic and very different paths this week.
Viacom, the media juggernaut that owns Nickelodeon, MTV, VH1, and Comedy central, has basically enacted an internet blackout. As an avid fan of Jon Stewart’s, The Daily Show, I am glad to have a cable provider that is not involved in this debacle. But in attempt to block DirecTV subscribers from accessing their popular content online, Viacom has pulled full episodes of its programming from its sites. So fans of popular programming like the Daily Show are now met with this:
While the move obviously satisfies Viacom’s need to block DirecTV customers from accessing the very programming it is trying to charge for, it also blocks ALL internet users from accessing their favorite shows online.
“We still have hundreds of long-form episodes remain online, for free, but we have temporarily slimmed down our offerings as DirecTV markets them as an alternative to having our networks,” Viacom spokesman Carl Folta explained during a phone conversation with Gigaom.
Viacom argues that is only asking for “a couple pennies per day per subscriber” and that DirecTV should accept such a fair offer. Of course a couple of pennies per day per subscriber would amount to hundreds of millions if not a billion dollars, but hey…pennies do add up. But companies stand to lose from this ongoing battle, and by blocking non-DirecTV consumers; Viacom will surely take a public bashing. Much like this one from a disgruntled Jon Stewart fan:
And then there is AMC and Dish Network. Instead of taking the more sinister route that Viacom has taken, AMC is going to be live-streaming the much anticipated premiere of one of cable’s most popular shows, Breaking Bad.
“AMC wants its loyal Dish viewers to experience the excitement of the Breaking Bad premiere at the same time as their friends and neighbors, and we want to give Dish customers an extra week to switch providers so they can enjoy the rest of the season,” reads an AMC statement issued Thursday.
The AMC-Dish battle is reported to have stemmed from a lawsuit filed by AMC subsidiary, VOOM HD, suing Dish for breach of contract. So, by taking this more user-friendly approach, AMC is hoping to rally the troops behind it, asking consumers to find a provider that carries AMC.
While the two approaches couldn’t be in starker contrast, both battles should conclude within a few more days. AMC offers it content online to help spur Dish cancellations, and Viacom blocks its online content to push users back to cable. It goes to show just how powerful online video can be when cable fails to keep its ducks in line.