The dispute between Viacom and DirecTV has spiced up a little bit. With Viacom channels removed from the DirecTV lineup, the two companies seem to be playing chicken, and it’s hard to tell which egg will crack first. In a new tactic to express its viewpoint and possibly win over some of its customers, DirecTV CEO Mike White released a YouTube video yesterday laying out his company’s viewpoint:
What’s notable about the video is that he argues for the exact reason most people decide to get rid of cable providers like DirecTV. He say’s he believes that it is unfair for Viacom to charge folks for bundled programming, charging customers for all of their networks, “even the ones you don’t watch or care about.” The stance is quite confusing to make as a cable provider that thrives off of that exact business model. But with Viacom asking for more money for their 23 network package, of which only a handful actually produce large audiences, DirecTV may be feeling what most cable subscribers feel every month — pinched.
With Viacom trying to force DirecTV into buying in to all of their programming no matter how popular some of their networks are, DirecTV is balking at the proposition. Could this be a sign for future a-la-carte programming from networks? Doubtful. Because if that were to happen, DirecTV would be among the many losers, as cable subscribers would undoubtedly cut down massively on their subscription packages. And in order to keep customers from booting their services, DirecTV is offering very generous packages and credits to customers complaining about paying for programming they aren’t actually getting. Retention is a very useful word for the consumer.