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Cable Technology Feature Article

July 16, 2012

DirecTV vs. Viacom Leaves No Real Winners

By Oliver VanDervoort, Contributing Writer

The battle currently being waged between DirecTV (News - Alert) and Viacom is certainly nothing new. Every year there seems to be a dispute between a cable company and a satellite dish network. Most of these disputes are eventually settled within a couple of days of the content being pulled off the air. This particular dispute is especially nasty because of how long it has continued. When these fights start, one of the keys for both sides is to blame the other. The question remains, does it matter who is to blame when almost all viewers know is that they can’t get their favorite content anymore?

There are reasons why both companies should want to resolve this problem as fast as humanly possible. One of the key selling points for DirecTV is that they offer all the same channels that regular cable does for less cost. If they start losing networks it is a safe bet they will also be losing customers before too long. Viacom (News - Alert), at first glance seems to be in a slightly stronger position because they can hope that DirecTV users will simply defect to cable and return to watching shows like “the Daily Show,” and “iCarly.” The danger both companies run is upsetting their customers, the people who seem to be innocent bystanders in these fights each and every time.

The real heart of the argument involves more than just whether people are willing to pay for satellite or terrestrial cable. At its real heart, most of the cable carriage disputes involved the many different ways people can now watch television episodes. DirecTV for one has said they shouldn’t have to pay as much for carrying companies like Viacom anymore because the service is no longer one of a kind. It appears that cable companies and networks alike are going to have to make an adjustment to how they value programming and viewership because downloading and streaming shows is certainly not going away. These sorts of disputes are the kind that are only going to convince more viewers they don’t need cable providers at all.

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Edited by Brooke Neuman

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