TDQ Investigates: WTF Viacom and DirecTV?

DirectTV vs. Viacom

Can Direct TV hold on to Viacom’s channels? Programming availability seems to be just a game to the parties involved. A game in which the consumer always loses no matter how many quarters they have put in the machine.

Let me start by saying I’ve had DirecTV for several years, and during those years, I’ve been significantly happier with them than I was with the lousy cable provider I switched from, whom I won’t name, (here’s a hint, though-it rhymes with bombast).

I generally have had good customer service experiences, and there have been several times over the years that I’ve gotten a pay channel free for 90 days, and they didn’t pull that “you have to call and cancel after the promotional period ends or we’ll just keep it on and start charging you” nonsense. At the end of the 90 days, they removed it from my channels, and it never cost me a dime.

And even when they’ve had carriage disputes in the past that resulted in me losing a channel (G-4? I’ll live, though I did enjoy “Ninja Warrior), I did all right. But now, when I wake up and have no Comedy Central or MTV (the wife loves those “16 and Pregnant” programs, and I must admit, they are probably the best deterrent to teenage, unprotected sex I’ve ever seen), I have a problem.

Viacom, parent company of MTV, Comedy Central and the 10 or 11 Nickelodeon channels we get, and DirecTV are both pointing the rich finger at the other and accusing them of being greedy. Viacom wants to charge more for showing their channels on DirecTV and DirecTV doesn’t want to pay more. These sorts of carriage disputes happen all the time, mostly with just loud and annoying screen crawls from both sides for a couple days obscuring reruns of “The Love Boat” until the problem is solved. Rarely do the channels actually ever go dark.

But Wednesday, we woke up to no MTV, VH1, CMT or Nickelodeon(s). I want both heads of these companies to look my 3 year-old in the eye and explain to her why she can’t watch “Dora the Explorer” and why my older children can’t watch “iCarly.”

Because the fact is, I don’t care who is more greedy, or who needs to cave in to the other side’s demands. The only people who are losing in this ridiculous battle are the people who can’t watch TVLand’s “Hot in Cleveland.” People like me! And it’s not like I could switch satellite providers even if I wanted to. We upgraded our equipment about a month ago, and re-upped for two more years with DirecTV.

So solve your differences, you jackasses, and get me my channels back, now.

To bring back a phrase from my childhood, I want my MTV!

You are now informed. Go and do likewise.

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