- Tim Whitby/Getty Images
Viacom’s cable networks are in danger of getting dropped by Dish Networks.
The owner of such networks as MTV, Nickelodeon, and Comedy Central launched a website Tuesday to pressure Dish into agreeing to carry its networks.
“We are extremely disappointed that DISH has not engaged in a serious way to reach an agreement for Viacom’s number one family of cable networks,” said a statement from a Viacom spokesman.
In response, a Dish spokesman said that Viacom is unjustifiably trying to get more money for its networks.
“Viacom is asking for hundreds of millions of dollars in increases, despite the changing landscape that includes drastically reduced viewership of Viacom channels and wide availability of their content across multiple platforms,” the spokesman said in a statement.
Television providers and content producers have contracts in which the cable companies pay content-makers fees in order to carry their channels.
The deal between Viacom and Dish Networks is set to expire Wednesday, meaning that Viacom’s channels will go black for Dish subscribers once the deal is up.
According to Bloomberg, Dish’s 13 million subscribers have begun to see a crawling message at the bottom of the picture on Viacom networks informing them of the move.
This sort of wrangling between a cable provider and content company is not unprecedented. In fact, Viacom went through a similar battle in 2013 with Time Warner Cable which was resolved without a blackout.
The pressure may have backfired, however, as shares of Viacom dove in trading Tuesday. The stock finished the day down a little more than 8.0%. Dish on the other hand was up by a bit over 1%.
UPDATE: DISH has provided the following statement to Business Insider regarding the situation:
We regret that Viacom has chosen to involve customers in a business negotiation when time remains to reach an agreement. Viacom unilaterally elected to terminate an indefinite contract extensiontomorrownight despite meaningful progress on a new agreement that confronts a rapidly evolving pay-TV environment. Viacom is asking for hundreds of millions of dollars in increases, despite the changing landscape that includes drastically reduced viewership of Viacom channels and wide availability of their content across multiple platforms, frustrating consumers who don’t want to pay twice for the same content. DISH will continue to negotiate in good faith to reach an agreement that works for both sides.
Viacom also provided the following statement to Business Insider:
Viacom has made every effort to negotiate a renewal for DISH subscribers, including granting multiple extensions. We have offered DISH a best-in-class deal at rates and terms as good as larger distributors, with additional services and features for their customers. In turn, DISH has made demands that are designed to be impossible to meet in order to take our negotiations public and likely force our programming off the air. This is a clear example of DISH’s disregard for their customers, who will be subjected to another unnecessary disruption in service. In addition to depriving our fans of our networks and programming, DISH is further undermining their fundamentally disadvantaged business by driving their subscribers to switch to a different provider.