The scuffle between DirecTV and Viacom to negotiate a new contract continued today with a new ad featuring the satellite provider's CEO Mike White addressing customers and (naturally) placing the blame on the media conglomerate for "the regrettable tactic" of deciding to "take their channels away from our customers." None of that is new — not to this dispute and not to these ever more frequent contract renegotiation battles — but White continues in the ad to say that "At the very least, we think Viacom should be willing to give your family the choice to pay for only those channels you watch." At first blush that certainly sounds a lot like DirecTV is interested in offering channels à la carte — a very appealing option for consumers — but that seems unlikely. Instead, White is probably claiming that Viacom is mandating DirecTV include all 26 channels in its TV plans, relying on powerhouses like MTV, Nickelodeon, and Comedy Central to bring in lesser-known stations.
It's not clear which company — if not both — are to blame for the loss of service, but DirecTV's ad comes close to teasing its customers with features like an à la carte option that the company is unlikely to deliver to keep subscribers on its side. The conflict reportedly began when Viacom demanded a 30 percent increase in royalties (a total of nearly $1 billion more) for the satellite provider to continue carrying its channels.