Viacom at Risk of Disappearing from DIRECTV NOW, AT&T WatchTV, DirecTV, and AT&T U-Verse This Friday
Viacom’s contract with AT&T expires this Friday at Midnight meaning that customers are at risk of losing all programming from 23 Viacom-owned channels including BET, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, MTV, and VH1. This weekend Viacom-owned Nickelodeon will be airing the Kids’ Choice Awards, hosted by DJ Khaled.
The carriage dispute would affect customers with DirecTV, AT&T U-Verse, as well as streaming services DIRECTV NOW and AT&T WatchTV. While the channels were recently removed in their new DIRECTV NOW PLUS and MAX plans, those grandfathered into the existing Live a Little, Just Right, Go Big, and Even More plans include Viacom networks.
In a internal memo to employees, Viacom President & CEO Bob Bakish shared: “We’ve made a series of offers that are both good for consumers and good for AT&T – giving subscribers more access to the Viacom channels they love, while enabling AT&T to lower subscribers’ bills and provide customers with a variety of packages and price points.”
He continued, “Despite these efforts, AT&T continues to insist on unreasonable and extreme terms that are totally inconsistent with the market. Having recently acquired Time Warner, AT&T appears intent on using its new market power to prioritize its own content at the expense of consumers, who are growing increasingly dissatisfied with paying more for less.”
Just last month, Viacom agreed to a deal with fuboTV to bring their channels to subscribers this Spring. The company has also been available on Sling TV, as well as the the $16 a month, entertainment-only streaming service Philo since they launched in 2017. Viacom channels aren’t available on PlayStation Vue, Hulu Live TV, or YouTube TV.
Earlier this year, Viacom acquired ad-supported streaming TV service, Pluto TV for $340 million. The service which offers 100 linear channels of lifestyle, news, sports, and entertainment content through partnerships with 130 media networks.
|AT&T TV NOW||AT&T WatchTV||fuboTV||Philo||Sling TV|
|Free Trial||Free Trial||Free Trial||Free Trial||Free Trial||Free Trial||Free Trial|
|CMT||•||-||-||•||•||^ $5||^ $5|
|LOGO||-||-||-||^ $6||-||^ $5||^ $5|
|MTV||•||•||•||•||•||^ $5||^ $5|
|Nick Jr.||•||•||-||•||•||^ $5||•|
|Paramount Network||•||-||-||•||•||^ $5||•|
|TV Land||•||-||•||•||•||^ $5||-|
|VH1||•||•||•||•||•||^ $5||^ $5|
In a statement from a Viacom spokesman to The Streamable:
“Viacom is the No. 1 cable family serving key customers and communities on AT&T-DirecTV’s services across kids, teens, 18-49, African Americans and Hispanics. We have made a series of offers that are good for consumers and good for AT&T – giving subscribers more access to the Viacom channels they love, including Nickelodeon, BET, MTV, Comedy Central and Paramount, while enabling AT&T-DirecTV to lower customers’ bills in the process.
Unfortunately, AT&T is abusing its new market position by favoring its own content – which significantly underperforms Viacom’s – to stifle competition. AT&T-DirecTV’s behavior is also consistent with a recent pattern of gouging their customers by charging them higher prices for an inferior product with fewer channels. Especially troubling, AT&T-DirecTV is marginalizing diverse audiences in its new DTV packages and threatening to do the same with their existing products.
Viacom is committed to developing strong relationships with our distribution partners. We have successfully renewed a series of distribution relationships representing more than half our subscriber base over the last two years and have not had a disruption in our service since 2014. While we continue to make every effort to reach a new carriage agreement, AT&T’s unwillingness to engage in constructive conversations unfortunately could force a disruption in service.