If you’re a DirecTV customer and have been watching many of its channels today, you’ve seen an extremely frustrating black bar about two thirds of the way down and across the screen. Apparently, DirecTV and Viacom are battling over fee increases. It’s little more than accusations being tossed back and forth and I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s mad as all get-out. It’s becoming tiresome knowing it’s the consumer or the taxpayer who the politicians and CEOs are turning to to “fix it”.
Y’all know how I feel about the president’s never-ending demands that the taxpayer do his job for him. It’s always “Tell Congress to do their job” with this man. I say they all need to do their jobs. Now, though, with this dispute between DirecTV and Viacom, it’s the paying consumers who are playing referee.
Here’s a bit of what DirecTV says (and you can read it all here):
Viacom has spent the day trying to convince the public that DIRECTV is willingly removing channels like MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, TV Land and Spike from our customers’ homes tonight at midnight 9:00pm PST / 12:00am EST. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.
DIRECTV is not willingly removing MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, Spike or any other channels even though Viacom began telling viewers exactly that at approximately 11:24 p.m. EST last night. The truth is, that only 5 minutes later, Viacom sent an express letter via courier to DIRECTV threatening legal action if DIRECTV did not comply with Viacom’s demand that DIRECTV turn off the channels. Viacom is legally forcing us to take down the channels, while publicly claiming they are against it.
OK. So, now, here’s what Viacom is saying (and you can read all of its statement here):
DirecTV is throwing around some big numbers that are misleading. Here’s the truth: Viacom is asking DirecTV for an increase of a couple of pennies per day per subscriber. That’s far less than DirecTV pays other programmers with fewer viewers than Viacom. Viacom has always been open to negotiating and hopes to get a deal done.
However, despite our best efforts, DirecTV has rejected all of our proposals to renew our agreement. This evening, DirecTV provided Viacom with a counter proposal that included a lower rate than Viacom receives from any other distributor in the industry. With this offer, our negotiations have reached an impasse.
Frustrating, right? Here’s the deal though. I pay an outrageous amount every month to DirecTV. I don’t care how much they bicker. I don’t care what they say and I don’t care about who’s throwing the most mud. Fix it. It’s that simple. Folks do not care that they’re arguing like a bunch of five year olds. And do you know why? Because there are other problems that Americans are dealing with – real problems.
And in case you’re wondering, Philippe Dauman, CEO of Viacom, is the highest paid executive in the nation. Yep – he earns more than even the jackass heading up JPMorgan Chase, Jamie Dimon. Dauman was paid $84.5 million in 2010, which equates to a 149% increase from 2009 (source). Meanwhile, DirecTV’s CEO is the number 5 highest paid executive in the nation. In 2010, (I can’t find numbers for 2011) he earned $32.6 million, which is a 21% increase from what he earned in 2009 (source). So, yeah. They need to do their jobs. Period.