Retrans impasse: Basic cable/satellite edition


ViacomThere is a very good chance that as of midnight tonight (it’s 7/10/12), 26 Viacom basic cable channels will disappear from the DirecTV lineup in a retransmission dispute.

Among the channels involved in the dispute are three highly-trafficked channels: Nickelodeon, MTV, and Comedy Central

According to, Viacom is seeking a 30% increase in fees, and DirecTV is claiming its desire to keep its customers’ bills as low as possible. Viacom is countering that its current agreement is seven years old and that current compensation standards have gone up. It is trying to bring its DirecTV contract in line with terms it is getting from other distributors.

According to Hollywood Reporter, however, DirecTV is claiming that Viacom’s new bill would amount to more than a $1B increase over what it already rakes in from DirecTV, and it includes among the 26 channels many that some DirecTV subscribers rarely or never watch.

Other Viacom networks that could go dark include BET, Spike, NickToons, VH1, VH1 Classic, TV Land, CMT, Logo, Tr3s, TeenNick, Nick Jr., [email protected] and others.

RBR-TVBR observation: And you thought broadcasters were always the villains – at least that’s what the MVPD community would have us all believe. But they can’t get along with each other.

We note that MVPDs often have reason to complain about basic cable conglomerates bundling weak channels in with their strong offerings.

In the case of a broadcast television station, the MVPD is getting one of its primary sources of local news and informational programming – and in general, the only other sources are other broadcast stations. The broadcast outlets provide programming that consistently pulls much higher ratings than almost all cable programs.

For the combination of high ratings and local content, broadcasters should be among the highest paid program providers to MVPD services, if not the highest. Just saying…