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Viacom and DirecTV Reach New Agreement

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the glad-you-boys-could-work-it-out dept.

Television 139

An anonymous reader writes "About 10 days after Viacom pulled 26 channels from DirecTV over a contract dispute, the two companies have finally come to an agreement that should have DirecTV fans in need of their MTV rejoicing. While precise details of the newly agreed upon contract weren't made public, Bloomberg is reporting that the new contract is for 7 years with Viacom set to receive more than $600 million a year from DirecTV. That represents a 20% payment increase from the previous contract and is slightly below the 30% increase, or $1 billion, Viacom was initially pushing for." The disturbing part of this dispute, to me, was how Viacom pulled its shows from the internet in addition to DirecTV. Advertising your side of the story is one thing, but going out of your way to directly frustrate viewers who are interested in your shows seems like bad business.

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139 comments

two quick points... (1, Troll)

acidfast7 (551610) | about 2 years ago | (#40714117)

1. don't you have enough channels already in the US that 26 (potentially mediocre) channels get pulled. 2. has anyone seen the cost of an average bill in the US? my parent are paying something nuts, like 180USD/mo, for a bundled cable package, in rural Maine.

Re:two quick points... (1)

Kenja (541830) | about 2 years ago | (#40714273)

1. Comedy Central is one of the few out of the thousand channels that's worth watching. 2. Prices vary based on what's in your package.

Re:two quick points... (1)

acidfast7 (551610) | about 2 years ago | (#40714383)

1. I agree about a few of the Programs on Comedy Central (The Daily Show, for example) ... what else did they cut. 2. But, still 180USD/mo is really high. Actually, I think you guys are really strung along by the cell phone/TV providers :(

Re:two quick points... (1)

Kenja (541830) | about 2 years ago | (#40714491)

My point was that without knowing what the bill is for, we cant say that 180$ is high. Perhaps there's a lot of pay per view porn on there? My bill is about the same, but includes 20MB internet, phone with unlimited long distance etc.

Re:two quick points... (2)

EdIII (1114411) | about 2 years ago | (#40716145)

Perhaps there's a lot of pay per view porn on there?

The bill would be more likely a $1000 per month then.

Not being funny either. That shit is expensive. I know somebody that was acting as a legal guardian for a mentally challenged man and about $1500 dollars got racked up in one month. To make matters worse, the cable company flatly refused to offer any kind of assistance on the matter on the 2nd time around when they had lied about blocking it on the service, but still allowed it.

Re:two quick points... (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 2 years ago | (#40714279)

On point 1, these channels weren't just like CSPAN or some weird niche channel but were pretty popular channels such as nickelodeon and MTV.

I've never understood cable though, if I'm paying for cable and the cable company is paying other companies for their content, shouldn't it be ad free? Wouldn't it just make more sense to be fully supported by ads or fully supported by the cable companies and their consumers?

Re:two quick points... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40714401)

I've never understood cable though, if I'm paying for cable and the cable company is paying other companies for their content, shouldn't it be ad free?

Why? Why would the cable company forego the ad revenue? Just cause ads bother you?
It's not like people cancel or refuse to subscribe due to the commercials.

Re:two quick points... (3, Insightful)

EdIII (1114411) | about 2 years ago | (#40716337)

It's not like people cancel or refuse to subscribe due to the commercials.

Oh YES they do. That is a reason why people are "cutting the cord" more and more each year, although the primary ones are cost and ease of use. Don't think it was coincidence that they shut off the Internet distribution channels at the same time either. It was paramount that during this dispute that people paying for cable did not get any kind of inkling of what a world without Cable TV could be like.

I was an "early adopter" of Cable TV free lifestyle. It's a lot easier now than it was nearly 10 years ago too. Legal or not, there are more and more ad free distribution channels popping up each day.

Once people experience ad free programming it becomes very addictive. You start to realize the incredible mind numbing bullshit you have to wade through just to get some programming. The times I have been over at friends houses watching TV with them, just channel surfing, was painful. It is close to 50% commercials now, and something like 80% of every channel you are flipping to is currently playing a commercial. I think they got smart and synced up their commercials so that you will be watching a commercial no matter what if you are surfing.

People only put up with advertisements because they are complacent and/or don't know about a solution to not have them. It is not surprising that once a solution becomes available that people jump.

Disturbing and bad business to pull their shows from the Internet? Any other action would have been like suicide for Viacom. As it stands right now, I guarantee you that non-trivial percentage of Viacom subscribers through DirectTV now have the knowledge and impetus to cut the cord for good.

Re:two quick points... (1)

sootman (158191) | about 2 years ago | (#40718007)

> Once people experience ad free programming
> it becomes very addictive.

DVRs serve that purpose too. Like you, I've been living largely ad-free for about 10 years now. I'm happy with cable (satellite, actually... DirecTV, in fact) for several reasons.

1) Internet problems do not lead to TV problems. Playback is always smooth.
2) Works with any Internet service. (Or without, in fact. :-) ) Up until 6 months ago I was on 1.5MB down/256k up DSL which MAYBE would work with decent quality video (definitely not HD) from SOME sources, SOMETIMES. I'm on 18MB service now and it's still not perfect. Generally very good, but not perfect. There's a big difference between 95% and 98% and 99% and 100%. TV pretty much JUST ALWAYS WORKS.
3) The UI is generally better than any other set-top box or app (like Hulu Desktop) on a traditional computer. (I still <3 my TiVo but the newer generic DTV boxes are pretty good. Worse in some ways, better in others... overall, both are pretty OK.)
4) There are LOTS of good shows (especially smaller shows from smaller networks) that aren't available online.
5) No delay. Shows are still on TV first. I don't have to wait a day, or 3 days, or a week. When it's "on TV", I can watch it. Period.
6) DVRs solve most of the problems (mainly, ads and scheduling) that people associate with traditional TVs.
7) I actually LIKE some ads. In particular, I like seeing ads during shows for other similar shows. If an ad looks good I'll watch it, and if turns out it wasn't good, I'll skip it next time it's on. I just prefer that to "If you liked this, you also might like..." kind of stuff. (I also like browsing books in a library or bookstore. Call me crazy.)
8) It's all in one place. I don't have to look at Hulu and Netflix and individual networks' sites to find what I want. All the channels are just THERE. Also, no worries about having the latest version of any kind of software.
9) I have nearly no incentive to EVER go to legally-questionable sites. It's not a HUGE deal, but yeah, I'd rather avoid the hassle of some multi-thousand-dollar lawsuit, regardless of the odds and whether the suit is bullshit or not.

There are some downsides compared to streaming and there are some neat features that streaming offers, but there is no single perfect solution, and for me, traditional TV service plus a DVR works very well. I'm not saying I don't watch or get ANY video online, but I'm a LONG way from "cutting the cord." (Which is such a HORRIBLE misnomer, by the way--all you're doing is TRADING one cord for another. And both cords are controlled by the same companies, so if the day comes that they're losing too much money over here, they'll just raise the rates over there.)

Re:two quick points... (1)

EdIII (1114411) | about 2 years ago | (#40718673)

DVRs serve that purpose too. Like you, I've been living largely ad-free for about 10 years now.

Not completely ad-free.

Internet problems do not lead to TV problems. Playback is always smooth.

In some cases they are one and the same.

TV pretty much JUST ALWAYS WORKS.

Not in my experience. My father has been frothing at the mouth mad with outages with his TV service. Technicians constantly coming out, really bad artifacts on the stored video, wholly missing video, etc. It is by far not 100% as you imply.

In fact, I would have to say that my experience with Netflix has been on par, or has exceeded, the experiences related to my by others with Cable TV.

3) The UI is generally better than any other set-top box or app (like Hulu Desktop) on a traditional computer. (I still

Well, that is an individual preference and quite solvable. I personally find the interface on Netflix and the WDTV Live series to be more than adequate and noticeably inferior or superior to the UI offered by any other products.

4) There are LOTS of good shows (especially smaller shows from smaller networks) that aren't available online.
5) No delay. Shows are still on TV first. I don't have to wait a day, or 3 days, or a week. When it's "on TV", I can watch it. Period.

Well... technically they are available online, and if you live any farther west than the Midwest of the US you can be watching it at the same time it goes live.

The bigger issue with most people is the availability of sports. That is not adequately addressed by online solutions.

6) DVRs solve most of the problems (mainly, ads and scheduling) that people associate with traditional TVs.

It does not solve the problems of advertisements at all. You still have to waste time skipping through them, waste storage space on them, and the content providers go batshit insane crazy with the lawyers and legislation any time technology comes up that would assist you in skipping said advertisements.

Overlayed advertisements on programming are not addressed by DVR solutions at all, and not even by most illicit online solutions either. You need to either pay for a web download, pirate a web download, or otherwise obtain an ad-free, overlay-free source such as DVD or Bluray.

7) I actually LIKE some ads. In particular, I like seeing ads during shows for other similar shows. If an ad looks good I'll watch it, and if turns out it wasn't good, I'll skip it next time it's on. I just prefer that to "If you liked this, you also might like..." kind of stuff. (I also like browsing books in a library or bookstore. Call me crazy.)

Okay. You're batshit insane crazy dude :)

Seriously, I do think you are an edge case. Only very few people (all of them on Slashdot) claim to like advertisements on TV. Actually, the only ones claiming to like it that I know in real life qualify it with, "Only in the Superbowl".

Given the choice, most people would get rid of it.

Browsing books is not the same as advertisement either. Totally different activity, and more importantly, initiated by you.

9) I have nearly no incentive to EVER go to legally-questionable sites

More and more it is becoming less legally-questionable. While I do "pirate" ad-free, overlay-free TV I claim the rights do so because they slam their content across my property wirelessly with two important conditions:

1) I don't have to pay for it since it is broadcast television. I am only restricted by copyright law which says I cannot distribute, not that I cannot obtain.
2) According to the FCC I must accept said signals and cannot interfere with them.

That is the only thing legally-questionable that I do. With Netflix, Redbox, Amazon, and Zune I am very well covered on legal means of obtaining content cheaply without advertisements, and DRM free for purchases.

Which is such a HORRIBLE misnomer, by the way--all you're doing is TRADING one cord for another. And both cords are controlled by the same companies, so if the day comes that they're losing too much money over here, they'll just raise the rates over there.)

That's not accurate. Not every ISP has a vested interest, or is directly involved with Cable TV subscription revenues. DSL is a good example, and so is 4G wireless.

DSL never had that bloated TV revenue in the first place so they will be far less inclined to try and raise their rates to a $100+ just because you don't have TV.

Competition should sort that out nicely.

Even if I am wrong, and end up paying $100-$150 a month for Internet service, I still win as a consumer versus what I had to put up with in the past:

1) Television on demand.
2) Television free of advertisements and overylays during programming. One way or the other, I will still get that. Even if it involves mesh networking and darknets.
3) Vastly increased competition in content distribution channels.
4) Free porn.
5) Free porn.
6) Free porn.
7) Did I mention free porn?

Any replacements for ESPN and MSNBC? (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#40718523)

Legal or not, there are more and more ad free distribution channels popping up each day.

But do they include live sports? ESPN is the one channel keeping one of my relatives (call him MG) on Xfinity TV. Cable is still cheaper than season tickets to watch your favorite professional or collegiate sports teams, and WatchESPN.com requires signing in to a participating pay TV provider. And do they include live progressive-slanted political talk shows? MSNBC is the one channel keeping another of my relatives (call her Becky) on Xfinity TV.

Re:two quick points... (4, Interesting)

acidfast7 (551610) | about 2 years ago | (#40714423)

1. I wouldn't put MTV in the keep category. Perhaps in the 80s with Liquid Television and Remote Control. But, their reality TV is abysmal, at best. Nick is great for kids. 2. Yeah, the commercials really bug me. In most of the EU, there's a huge "Commercial" text on the screen with a timer counting down to 00:00 so you know when the programming will be back on. Sometimes, it's 5mins and it's great that I know exactly how long I have.

Re:two quick points... (5, Insightful)

characterZer0 (138196) | about 2 years ago | (#40714987)

Nick is great for kids

Nick is not great for kids. Nick is great for lazy parents.

Re:two quick points... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40715977)

You SlashParents always have to pipe up with this "You're parenting wrong" crap at any chance you get, don't you?

Re:two quick points... (1)

EdIII (1114411) | about 2 years ago | (#40716439)

You SlashParents always have to pipe up with this "You're parenting wrong" crap at any chance you get, don't you?

That doesn't make the wrong though.

I did watch a fair amount of television growing up and I can honestly say that time I spent with my parents was more memorable and valuable then any TV show back then. Other than a few, sparingly few, exceptions like Star Trek TNG, Scooby Doo, etc., that I don't really remember the TV all that much.

What I do remember is playing board games and card games with my parents. The times that we did eat dinner together instead of splitting up and eating in front of a television. Later on in life I remember those times more than anything that was on television and wish that I had spent less time watching television.

If I had kids, they would not be watching nearly as much television as I did. I would sooner be playing video games with my children, or some other online experience, than just sitting them down in front of a TV to happily distract them for a few hours, while I do the same in a different room.

Re:two quick points... (1)

holmedog (1130941) | about 2 years ago | (#40717317)

That doesn't make the wrong though.

Yes, yes it does. Watching moderated television in no way at all hurts my children, or I wouldn't let them do it. Tonight we are going to go for a bike ride to the park and then read a book and do some math "homework" when we get home. My kids are 4 and 6. After that, we're going to watch some NickJR, because my kids enjoy the shows. If the 6 year old has her way we might watch an episode of Avatar on regular Nick.

I get so absolutely sick of this "You're a bad parent because..." bullshit on here. Television to an excess is bad parenting, but some isn't. And, no one here is advocating jamming kids in front of a TV all day while we play Diablo 3.

Re:two quick points... (1)

EdIII (1114411) | about 2 years ago | (#40718285)

Yes, yes it does.

No, not it doesn't. There were two statements:

1) Nick is great for kids - I sincerely doubt this is true. More likely it is Nick is not noticeably harmful towards children.
2) Nick is great for lazy parents - Absolutely true. If you are a lazy parent, then Nick is a great tool for the avoidance of your responsibilities as a parent.

Watching moderated television in no way at all hurts my children

Moderation is sorely lacking right now, especially in American culture. If you are one of the exceedingly few parents insisting upon it, then good for you.

I would argue that television watched without parental guidance is harmful. Especially the advertisements.

I get so absolutely sick of this "You're a bad parent because..." bullshit on here.

So just where would you like it discussed? I think it's better than not saying anything at all don't you? It's not like the majority of families could not use some help and guidance in that regard.

Television to an excess is bad parenting, but some isn't.

Nowhere in that statement did it say that even a little television was harmful.

And, no one here is advocating jamming kids in front of a TV all day while we play Diablo 3.

Likewise, I was not saying any parents were advocating such behavior. Only wished to point out that my adult observations of my childhood lead me to conclude that television is not required for a happy childhood, and is not necessarily conducive to one either. Direct parental involvement in my life has turned out to be far more meaningful and memorable.

If you are a parent, and you seem to be so, that spends a lot of time with your kids doing activities, than that's truly wonderful. As a former child myself, I can promise you it makes a million times more difference than every second your kids spend watching Nick.

LAN with your kids (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#40718565)

I would sooner be playing video games with my children

Would that involve a LAN with one gaming PC for you and one gaming PC for one of your children?

Re:two quick points... (1)

HalWasRight (857007) | about 2 years ago | (#40716511)

It isn't the programming, it is the adds. Sugary drinks, sugary cereal, processed snacks, and plastic toys from China that will be discarded in a couple of weeks.

Re:two quick points... (1)

ProzacPatient (915544) | about 2 years ago | (#40716911)

Are you kidding me? I'm a grown adult and I love to watch Nickelodeon!

Re:two quick points... (1)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | about 2 years ago | (#40716975)

Nick is great for kids

Nick is not great for kids. Nick is great for lazy parents.

Indeed. If one ever wants (or needs because sometimes it is needed) to let/put a kid watch a TV show, let it be something of PBS, or at least the Disney Channel. But Nick. Some of those cartoons are just one letter away from saying the F word.

Re:two quick points... (1)

sootman (158191) | about 2 years ago | (#40717655)

Lots of things are great for lazy parents. Many of these same things are good for active parents too. We watch Nick Jr. (among other channels) with our kid and he's learned a lot with that. When you have a kid, you are not magically transformed into an infinite supplies of creativity, information, and energy. It's good to have helpers. Like anything else, it can be used well, or not.

Re:two quick points... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40714649)

Regarding the ads, yes, that is exactly the premise cable companies launched their service with. You paid a monthly fee and got ad-free programming. But ads make money and the cable providers liked money, soooo

Re:two quick points... (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | about 2 years ago | (#40715217)

Regarding the ads, yes, that is exactly the premise cable companies launched their service with. You paid a monthly fee and got ad-free programming. But ads make money and the cable providers liked money, soooo

And the cable companies are owned by people like Frito "I like Money" Pendejo [youtube.com] .

Re:two quick points... (2)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 2 years ago | (#40716265)

Regarding the ads, yes, that is exactly the premise cable companies launched their service with. You paid a monthly fee and got ad-free programming.

That's nonsense.

Cable companies grew out of the need in cities for a way to provide local broadcast channels to lots of people who were living in little boxes called apartment buildings. Rabbit ears on the telly didn't cut it when you live in a steel-girder box. The first systems were called MATV, for Master Antenna TV, or CATV for Community Antenna TV, where the antenna was on the roof and the "cable system" ran just throughout the building.

Smart entrepreneurs formed companies to do this wiring for the landlords. Smart landlords, or cheap ones who owned lots of buildings, started linking buildings to save money. Then larger companies stepped in and an industry was born.

Note that the prime reason for these systems was to redistribute the commercial TV already being broadcast. You paid your monthly fee and got a good signal for the AD SUPPORTED commercial TV channels without needing to put out your own antenna.

A few microwave services popped up to deliver premium content without wires, but those were doomed to failure as soon as cable companies started carrying premium content.

So no, the premise cable companies started with was NOT to provide premium services (because those content providers didn't exist when cable got started) it was to provide a good signal for the existing ad-supported TV for money.

I remember very well the launch of what the local cable company was calling "The Q Channel", which was really HBO before HBO was well known under that brand. The cable system had been in place for a decade before that.

Re:two quick points... (4, Interesting)

MitchDev (2526834) | about 2 years ago | (#40714687)

I've said that for years. PLUS, if so many of Viacom's channels are primarily AD-supported (MTV and Nickleodeon runs TONS of commercials), pulling the channels off of Direct TV means fewer viewers, meaning the advertisers are getting ripped off by Viacom. Viacom and companies like it should be PAYING the cable and satellite companies to carry their channels. If you want to charge for access to the channels, those channels shouldn't be double-dipping and showing commercials as well....

Re:two quick points... (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 2 years ago | (#40716083)

If you want to charge for access to the channels, those channels shouldn't be double-dipping and showing commercials as well....

Your local newspaper has been doing this for decades. Yes, a few community papers do manage to pay for everything with ads, but most major full time papers are both subscriber and ad supported. Why would a video program provider be much different?

The problem is if you charge the advertisers the full fare, then you'll have fewer advertisers and probably won't have enough money. If you charge the subscribers the full fare, you won't have enough subscribers and won't have enough money. Charge both and you can charge less to both and still have the money to produce programs. Yeah, HBO etc. go fully subs, but I expect they will be having serious difficulties in the future from cable on-demand or Netflix, if not already.

Re:two quick points... (1)

plover (150551) | about 2 years ago | (#40715055)

HBO, Showtime, et al, are paid for and ad free. But they cost a lot more than the ad sponsored channels.

I'd be interested in an a la carte solution, where I could pay for ad free Comedy Central and Discovery, but skip MTV entirely.

Re:two quick points... (1)

EdIII (1114411) | about 2 years ago | (#40716525)

HBO, Showtime, et al, are dead and dying.

The only thing they have going for them is the programming they can make on their own, which puts them squarely on the same footing as a company like Viacom, or an individual provider like SyFy.

Where HBO and the like stood out was the relatively inexpensive access to large catalogues of movies. Netflix, Redbox, and to a much much lesser extent Blockbuster have been eating their lunch for years, and current on-demand offerings will kill them.

The people I know, who are affluent enough to afford it, have moved on to on-demand services and don't watch 1/10th as much regularly scheduled programming on movie channels like HBO.

Their current business model is unsustainable and you will see them transition to a nearly complete on-demand system, or cave in and go the advertiser route.

Re:two quick points... (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#40715087)

>>>pretty popular channels such as nickelodeon and MTV.

I visited the DirecTV website last night, and they were providing alternate ways to watch your favorite channels. Basically a list linking to hulu and amazon. As I looked over the list, I found I really don't miss ANY of the channels. I watch iCarly on Nick, and that's about it. (And MTV's shows are rather sucky.)

Also this is why Viacom pulled the shows off their websites. They didn't want DirecTV viewers to be watching the channels, even after they had been yanked. (Now I'm curious if they restore them or not.)

Re:two quick points... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40716065)

I watch iCarly on Nick, and that's about it.

Perv.

Also Victoria Justice is a lot hotter than Miranda Cosgrove.

Re:two quick points... (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#40715489)

>>> if I'm paying for cable and the cable company is paying other companies for their content, shouldn't it be ad free?

The channels get most of their money from 20 minutes of ads each hour. The subscriber fees of ~50 cents per home/month are just an extra bonus.

Re:two quick points... (2)

mcgrew (92797) | about 2 years ago | (#40716893)

I've never understood cable though, if I'm paying for cable and the cable company is paying other companies for their content, shouldn't it be ad free?

It was, thirty years ago. At the time, everyone poo-pooed the idea of paying for TV, since everyone had been watching for free since the device was invented. Ten bucks a month for the OTA channels (which had commercials but no snow or ghosts) and a dozen or so very good, ad-free cable channels; empty-V (they played videos then, not stupid reality shows), Discovery (they had science then, not "trick my truck" and "ice trucks"), HBO was even included in the $10 per month cost. No cencorship on the cable channels, which was a good draw, too.

Now? They censor all the funny parts (like "don't use that kind of language in front of my young son" when the language had been cut). Most of the cable channels' programming has gone WAY downhill; the only thing on Discovery worth watching is MythBusters, empty-V no longer has videos, but "look at all my bling" reality shows, the other channels had similarly deteriorated, while they added so many sports channels that you now see the "sports" of pool and poker on ESPN. I have to pay fo rthe golf channel? Fuck that! I have to pay for BET? Fuck that. I have to pay for two dozen women's channels and children's channels? Fuck that. Shopping channels? I have to PAY to watch shows that are nothing but commercials? I have to PAY to not only watch commercials, but to watch commercials overlaid over the programming FUCK THAT WITH A HOT SOLDERING IRON!!!

The cable and satellite companies can kiss my hairy white ass! When they stop putting commercials on cable shows and let me choose the channels I want a la carte, I might consider going back. Unless, of course, History and Discovery and the other cable channels deteriorate in quality even more.

Re:two quick points... (1)

Vyse of Arcadia (1220278) | about 2 years ago | (#40714389)

I think it's somewhat analogous to video game consoles. If all you want to do is play games, you don't need both a Wii and an XBox. But if you want to play certain exclusive games that only come out on one or the other, then you need both.

Re:two quick points... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40714575)

Answers:

1. How many channels do we have? According to number theory, is there a number larger than that? Bigger huger AMERICAN numbers are betterer than your puny little Euronumber shit. If you were a REAL American, you'd know that. QED.

2. That's out in rural Maine, you understand. It's true, that's where REAL Americans live, what with their quaint Main Streets and their small-town, home-spun superiority to fake Americans who vote wrongly. However, nobody in America cares about them unless it's an election year, and even then only if it helps their party at all. Since all feasible parties are owned by at least one cable company, it's in nobody's benefit to talk smack about outlandish cable prices in small rural towns.

Re:two quick points... (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#40714767)

There are plenty of channels, but they all suck. Comedy Central is just about the only one worth watching, and that's just for TDS/TCR and South Park.

Personally, I'd rather watch PBS kids than just about anything else on cable. Educational/Entertainment programming designed for 6 year olds insults my intelligence less than what usually passes as entertainment for mature adults.

Re:two quick points... (1)

getSalled (1331585) | about 2 years ago | (#40715049)

No Futurama reference? Shame on you.

Re:two quick points... (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#40715629)

>>> I'd rather watch PBS Kids than just about anything else on cable. Educational/Entertainment programming designed for 6 year olds insults my intelligence less, than what usually passes as entertainment for mature adults.

I just found my new facebook status.
Perfect.
Dont watch Qubo though. I get it free off my antenna and tried watching it a few times, but it's pretty dumbed down (like toddler level).

Re:two quick points... (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#40715731)

Cheers. You can remove that comma though, don't know what I was thinking there.

Re:two quick points... (2)

EdIII (1114411) | about 2 years ago | (#40717075)

Cheers. You can remove that comma though, don't know what I was thinking there.

I blame the educational programming on TV myself.

Re:two quick points... (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#40715179)

>>>my parent are paying something nuts, like 180USD/mo, for a bundled cable package, in rural Maine.

That's higher than normal. Most people pay around $100/mo for TV + internet + phone. Add $7 or $10 for every extra TV.

I live near 2 major cities, so I just use antenna for 40 channels. i.e. Free. Add the internet and phone, and my total is about $30 a month.

Re:two quick points... (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about 2 years ago | (#40715209)

1. don't you have enough channels already in the US that 26 (potentially mediocre) channels get pulled

Do you watch channels or TV shows?

Re:two quick points... (1)

johnlcallaway (165670) | about 2 years ago | (#40715771)

1. Didn't even notice until I saw it in the news 2. My bill for DirectTV is $64/mo. When I had cable (Phoenix, AZ), it was $120/mo for cable and internet. Now it's $60/mo for upgraded internet. So for the same amount, I got more/better choices, more HD channels, fewer outages, and no increases for several years.

I really didn't care about any of the Viacom channels. I rarely watch Comedy Central, MTV and VH1 are a waste, don't have kids, and the only CMT show I watched was Redneck Island. Funny show, but not funny enough that I cared I couldn't watch it anymore.

I watch maybe 1-2 hours of TV a day, sometimes 3. And an hour of that is reruns of Big Bang Theory. If nothing is on I want to watch, I go play Diablo III. Or, heaven forbid, go outside and do yard work. Some nights I just sit outside with my wife on the patio and ... talk. It's a lot more interesting than TV most of the time, sometimes between her liberal leanings and my libertarian leanings we do get into some great discussions.

If DirectTV, Cox Cable and Dish all went out of business tomorrow .. I really wouldn't care.

Pulled the plug on pay TV 5 years ago... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40714161)

Don't miss it at all. More money in my pocket and time to spend on relationships that are important to me.

Re:Pulled the plug on pay TV 5 years ago... (2, Interesting)

morari (1080535) | about 2 years ago | (#40714399)

It's been about 7 years for me. I have a cheap Netflix account and a server full of ripped media. It all plays just fine through my Boxee at almost no cost at all. I don't watch more than a couple of hours of movie/television in any given day anyway. I pity people who have nothing better to do in life than sit around watching the latest reality show.

Re:Pulled the plug on pay TV 5 years ago... (1)

acidfast7 (551610) | about 2 years ago | (#40714621)

actually, over here you get roughly 20 over the air channels for a "mandatory" 19€/mo. the general programming is quite bad (like dubbed NCIS/CSI/etc... but they carry all of the big events like the SuperBowl/World Cup/Euro Cup/Olympics and have a lot of reasonable movies as well (like MI1/2/3 when the new one came out) if you understand German, that is. Personally, the news quality is quite high and less blatantly politicized than CNN/Fox, and I find it good bargain.

Re:Pulled the plug on pay TV 5 years ago... (4, Funny)

0100010001010011 (652467) | about 2 years ago | (#40714745)


Area Man Constantly Mentioning He Doesn't Own A Television

Re:Pulled the plug on pay TV 5 years ago... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40718201)

lazy bastard, if you're going to do that, at least post the oblink [theonion.com]

TV Services (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40714193)

How many people are still paying for TV services?

One word: "Books" (5, Informative)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | about 2 years ago | (#40714249)

And the public library is still free.

Re:One word: "Books" (2)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about 2 years ago | (#40714387)

Free as in payed for with taxes. "Read a book" glosses over the reality that some people just prefer video entertainment, which is what the article is about.

Re:One word: "Books" (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40714431)

Libraries don't have only books. It's where my parents get the DVD seasons they watch.

Re:One word: "Books" (1)

EdIII (1114411) | about 2 years ago | (#40717157)

It's also where some men get their porn.

AFAIK it's true. Was out and about one day in public talking about the fallacy of porn addiction in a sandwich shop and the topic shifted towards free porn on the Internet. A man that overheard us laughed and said you could get it for free at the library too and why pay for it. I gave him a weird look and asked if they didn't complain he was taking care of business at the library and he gave me one back and said that you just take it home with you.

Anyhoo, libraries are also good for that. I hear.

Re:One word: "Books" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40714949)

You're probably will be one of the parents who try to convince their children that the prefer a nice, green, fresh, crunchy apple over those disgusting Mars and Snickers Bars...

Re:One word: "Books" (2)

jedidiah (1196) | about 2 years ago | (#40715493)

It's really easy to avoid that "problem" by simply not having junk food around to begin with.

Re:One word: "Books" (1)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | about 2 years ago | (#40717077)

It's really easy to avoid that "problem" by simply not having junk food around to begin with.

^^^ This. As a parent, I know that this is true. I have no problems getting my 3-year old daughter to eat her apples, carrots, brocolli, grape tomatoes, rice, tuna... even onions. No candies, no chocolate bars, no sodas, none of that crap. The most she ever gets once in a while is some frozen as a treat, and her regular sweets are her omega-3 gummy bears.

It always amazes me when people complain that they cannot get their kids to eat their greens... all the while having a lot of uber-fried or sugar-coated shit all around the house. Kids act they way they get raised. You put them around shit, and they'll grow up liking shit and nothing else. It's not rocket science.

Re:One word: "Books" (2)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 2 years ago | (#40715025)

Jon Stewart kinda ripped into Viacom [thedailyshow.com] about this which owns Comedy Central. "There are these devices I saw at the beach [shows a book] where you can hundreds if not thousands of different screens."

Re:One word: "Books" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40715679)

The only show on Viacom that I know for sure I would watch when I could was "Workaholics" on Comedy Central.

After the double-banner dick-waving that Viacom forced upon us DirecTV viewers, and after reading about Steve Mann being physically assaulted for being a cyborg... I went out and bought Accelerando by Charles Stross.

Best $7.99 + tax I've spent in YEARS.

(Since others have mentioned old MTV programming, I want to also say that as I read through Accelerando I imagined everything rendered in the style of Peter Chung! I loved Aeon Flux, and I really enjoyed the animated middle Riddick movie, Dark Fury.)

I hope your post reaches +5

Re:One word: "Books" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40717329)

The Alexander series he was involved in was pretty slick as well.

I'd love another series or film by him :)

Re:One word: "Books" (2)

OhSoLaMeow (2536022) | about 2 years ago | (#40715995)

Obligatory Princess Bride quote:
In my day, television was called "books"

Re:One word: "Books" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40716799)

in my day it was Fire!

it had one channel and everyone was mesmerized!

Re:One word: "Books" (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 2 years ago | (#40716679)

I want my,
I want my,
I want my li-brar-y.

Re:One word: "Books" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40718293)

"In my day, television was called 'books'." - Grandpa (The Princess Bride)

Viacom: your name is mud. (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 2 years ago | (#40714251)

Based on my own experiences and recording history, Viacom is just so full of themselves. These past few days have given me a nice look at how Viacom fits into my entire my entire DTV subscription. Nothing that was blacked out by this shenanigan was any great loss.

I could completely block Viacom channels permanently and barely notice it.

So when the inevitable price increase comes, I will know who to thank and be certain that no Viacom channels are worth keeping a cable subscription over.

Re:Viacom: your name is mud. (4, Informative)

MitchDev (2526834) | about 2 years ago | (#40714941)

That's part of the reason Cable/Satellite doesn't offer "build-your-own" packages where you can choose the channels you want....

Re:Viacom: your name is mud. (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 2 years ago | (#40715551)

At this rate, DTV may hit my personal "cut the cord" threshold.
There's only so far these companies can go during a down economy. Beyond cheap bastards like me, Big Content and cable operators have to consider that people simply might not have the money to waste anymore.

Viacom may a the straw that breaks some backs.

Re:Viacom: your name is mud. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40718337)

At this rate, DTV may hit my personal "cut the cord" threshold.

Wait, I thought DTV was satellite...

Re:Viacom: your name is mud. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40717717)

That's part of the reason Cable/Satellite doesn't offer "build-your-own" packages where you can choose the channels you want....

I question that. Forget picking individual channels. If Viacom wants to bundle 26 channels at $5/subscriber/month, then why doesn't DirecTV/DISH/Comcast/etc. offer that at markup - $6-$8 - as a package?

This way, the networks offer the bundles or per-channel deals that are appealing. People might say, "hmmmm $2 for just MTV or $8 for 26 channels... hmmmmmm". Pricing and changes can all be online and automated. Subscribers ought to be able to disallow price increases (and lose the channels automatically rather than suffer a price increase automatically).

This way, when Viacom raises prices 30%, they suffer backlash directly from the consumer. Satellite owners ought not be negotiating on our behalf, and if they do want that role, fuck 'em.

Re:Viacom: your name is mud. (1)

Kadagan AU (638260) | about 2 years ago | (#40716075)

I'm a DirecTV subscriber, and I honestly never even noticed that I lost some channels. Must not have been anything important. I'm happy for them to lost those ones, and reduce my bill, but I'm sure that would never happen.

Re:Viacom: your name is mud. (1)

wesk (2662405) | about 2 years ago | (#40718765)

Well goody goody gumdrops for you! Not sure if you realize it or not, but not everyone has the same preferences with respect to TV content as you. Guess you were always glued to the PPV porn channels, huh?

Viacom Receives 20% Payment Increase (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40714331)

And we will still have to suffer through commercials. It would be nice if they, at least, shortened the commercial duration.

26 channels... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40714391)

I hate that people are using 26 as the number. This number is including BOTH the standard definition and high definition version of the same @#$@# channel.

Re:26 channels... (1)

Jeng (926980) | about 2 years ago | (#40716263)

So they aren't including the on-demand channels also?

Or does DirectTV not do that? Ie: have free on demand channels for the channels you have.

$2.50/subscriber/month (1)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | about 2 years ago | (#40714413)

DirecTV has 20M customers. $600M/year is $30/year/subscriber or $2.50 per subscriber per month.

I like the Daily Show but doesn't $2.50/customer seem a bit high given they also have commercials?

No wonder "basic cable" is now so expensive.

Re:$2.50/subscriber/month (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40715083)

There's a bunch of channels that they provide - MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, CMT, BET, Comedy Central, etc.
I'd pay $0.40/month per channel for streaming-only access to all the content of each channel.
Too bad Viacom doesn't see that as a distribution alternative.

Really? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40714427)

"The disturbing part of this dispute, to me, was how Viacom pulled its shows from the internet in addition to DirecTV. Advertising your side of the story is one thing, but going out of your way to directly frustrate viewers who are interested in your shows seems like bad business."

This was one of DirecTVs key complaints. Why should DirecTV pay for content that Viacom was giving away for free on the internet? Not really an incentive to "pay" for that same content.

It doesn't add up (1)

Ydna (32354) | about 2 years ago | (#40714435)

500 + 20% = 600

500 + 30% != 1000

Re:It doesn't add up (1)

JestersGrind (2549938) | about 2 years ago | (#40714641)

Yeah that puzzled me too. This is what I think they meant. 500 + 30% = 650 which is an increase of 150/year. Over the 7 year contract that comes out to 1050. There is your billion dollars.

Math Time! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40714463)

So $600 million a year w/ 20 million subscribers comes out to an additional $30 a year per subscriber which means we should expect to see at least a $2.50 price hike.

Somehow I doubt we'll only see a $2.50 increase though.

Re:Math Time! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40714735)

Especially since it isn't a $600 million a year increase. It's a roughly 20% increase over the previous contract, which comes out to about $.50 a month per subscriber.

Re:Math Time! (3, Informative)

olsmeister (1488789) | about 2 years ago | (#40714787)

No, because this is only Viacom. All programmers continually pull this shit. The only solution is to start paring the number of channels. The programmers anticipate this and keep large groups of channels together in all-or-nothing packages. The same things people bitch about the cable or satellite companies doing are the same things the programmers do to the providers. Providers need to start holding their ground on these things and be willing to permanently give up certain channels if necessary.

Re:Math Time! (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#40715783)

>>> The programmers anticipate this and keep large groups of channels together in all-or-nothing packages

+ 1.
That is the EXACT problem. And I don't know the solution. There's nothing illegal about NBC or ABC/disney or Viacom bundling 15-20 channels as one single unit. It doesn't violate Antitrust law, nor does the FCC have jurisdiction over private lines, so the government can't do anything. The best way to make change is to vote with your dollar (cancel the CATV, or deliberately pick lowcost options like $25 Dish).

So much hate here... (2)

holmedog (1130941) | about 2 years ago | (#40714719)

I see so many comments here about "I went full media center" or "TV, who watches TV???". My main source of viewing material is League of Legends streams, but I still pay for DirecTV. Why? I have 3 children. NickJR is an amazing channel for kids under 7. It's one of two channels I let them watch without me being over their shoulders.

And, yes, I have NetFlix. But, it works on one TV (the one with the PS3 on it which coincidentally is the same one with the HDMI to the PC). I have three televisions. My kids can easily watch NickJR in the playroom or bedrooms. That by itself makes me glad to pay the $70 a month that also lets me watch HD football and the occasional trash TV when I don't have anything else going on.

TLDR; I'm more than willing to pay the $70 because it adds value to my household. I don't understand all the hate around here - don't use the service if you don't like it.

perhaps, but not for us... (1)

acidfast7 (551610) | about 2 years ago | (#40714927)

I don't because I don't think TV is a substitute for quality time with my kids. I talk them for a walk on the river (200m from the door) or to the park instead (25m from the door). Also, I'd like to see your 70USD/bill ... is that with all taxes and no discounts?

Re:perhaps, but not for us... (2)

holmedog (1130941) | about 2 years ago | (#40715103)

$70 is what I pay out of pocket. Also, letting my kids watch TV in no way implies that is all I do with my children. That "all or nothing" attitude is not constructive at all for a conversation.

Re:perhaps, but not for us... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40715207)

Ooooooooh it's groovy dad.

Re:So much hate here... (4, Informative)

ewieling (90662) | about 2 years ago | (#40714971)

but I still pay for DirecTV. Why? I have 3 children. NickJR is an amazing channel for kids under 7

The PBS IQ/PBS Kids is a great kids channel. It is one of the digital OTA channels from PBS.

Re:So much hate here... (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40715105)

Sounds like you are a perfect candidate for a pair of $50 Roku boxes for the kids to watch Netflix. Plenty of great kid shows there and even some trash TV. Then again, if the real reason is HD Football and the kids shows are just how you justify it, keep on keeping' on.

Re:So much hate here... (1)

holmedog (1130941) | about 2 years ago | (#40716393)

Actually never heard of such a thing. Off to Google I go.

Re:So much hate here... (1)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | about 2 years ago | (#40716399)

You have kids under 7 with TVs in their bedrooms?!

Viacom wanted a BIG increase (1)

Control-Z (321144) | about 2 years ago | (#40714895)

I think a 20% is more than "slightly below" the 30% increase Viacom wanted. I'm no DirectTV fan, but a 30% price increase is rather steep.

As for as my mandatory "I don't pay for cable/satellite" post, I haven't paid since 2007 or so. I have TivoHD to record HD OTA and Netflix. I have more than enough to watch, and Netflix eventually gets many of my favorite programs that I used to watch on cable for $65+ per month. I'm not one of those people that has to see something the moment it comes out. Once you can relax about that, you can save a lot of time (no commercials) and money.

...We can haz The Brilliant Plan...!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40715035)

"The disturbing part of this dispute, to me, was how Viacom pulled its shows from the internet in addition to DirecTV. Advertising your side of the story is one thing, but going out of your way to directly frustrate viewers who are interested in your shows seems like bad business."

Well... Duh.
Viacom was arrogantly betting that DirecTV customers would be so distressed and upset with DirecTV that they would force DirecTV to surrender to Viacom's demands. These kinds of Brilliant Plans(tm) invariably fail, which is no less than the Arrogant Wankers deserve.

If anything, these Arrogant Wankers deserve considerably more humiliation, if but to remind them that no, they cannot manipulate the people into doing their bidding.

Amazing (3, Insightful)

Tailhook (98486) | about 2 years ago | (#40715131)

Redstone et al. at Viacom got exposed to a big hot reality beam during the last two weeks.

The chronology of events is astonishing to me. Viacom pulls their content from DirecTV. DirecTV actually argues that their subscribers can get their Daily Show fix from the Internet thereby introducing millions of dearly paying subscribers to a delivery platform they had previously slouched away from. Viacom reacts to this by briefly pulling their content off the Internet, punishing millions of people that have never subscribed to DirecTV. Under pressure by their streaming advertisers and outraged Internet audience Viacom relents and puts the content back up!

DirecTV should have held out longer. Viacom blinked when they discovered they couldn't abuse their audience with impunity. That's when you're supposed go for the jugular.

Re:Amazing (1)

gman003 (1693318) | about 2 years ago | (#40716445)

Ah, but if DirecTV had kept playing hardball, they would have lost face as well. By "caving", they arguably lost the battle (a 20% price increase over 7 years isn't *that* bad), but they're winning the war now. They got some great free advertising. You can bet nobody else is going to push hard when *their* contracts come up. Even Viacom is likely to go softer next time, if only to avoid a repeat.

Lose the battle, win the war. That's a *good* strategy.

Re:Amazing (2)

Tailhook (98486) | about 2 years ago | (#40718607)

Settling for 20% vs 30% is mere negotiation. I'm convinced DirecTV could have gotten more; they had public sentiment and an apparently loyal customer base that was willing to hold out longer. Taking Viacom down another 5% or 10% was possible, I believe, with no risk of angering anyone outside the Viacom boardroom.

The most important outcome by far is this; There was no DirecTV subscriber exodus for lack of Viacom content. People like Redstone will increasingly find themselves facing big carriers willing to forego content to get better deals.

Remember what happened to Netflix when they raised rates? They got schooled by their subscribers. Now they shed overpriced content (Starz, for instance) and leave the rates alone. They'll pick up seven million new subscribers in 2012. Most of those are refugees from carriers that haven't learned the lessons.

This is the Big Content bubble popping. Enjoy your paycut, Hollywood. It's been a long time coming.

That represents a 20% payment increase (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40715155)

That represents a 20% payment increase
That represents a 20% payment increase
rinse repeat
eventually no one can afford cable
haha win win

Cable companies are doing it wrong (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40715327)

Instead of mixing channels from different providers into packages they should just resell the packages as they come from the providers, like they already do with premium channels.

Instead of selling "basic package" with ESPN from Disney and Comedy from Viacom, give the customer the option to pick Time Warner's basic package, Viacom's Basic Package, Disney's basic package, etc.

This way, when a provider wants more money, the cable provider informs its customers and give them the choice of dropping that package if they don't want to pay for the increase.

I have one thing to say (1)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | about 2 years ago | (#40716379)

And *why* is that woe to us? Because you people, and sixty-two million other Americans, are listening to me right now. Because less than three percent of you people read books! Because less than fifteen percent of you read newspapers! Because the only truth you know is what you get over this tube. Right now, there is a whole, an entire generation that never knew anything that didn't come out of this tube! This tube is the Gospel, the ultimate revelation. This tube can make or break presidents, popes, prime ministers... This tube is the most awesome God-damned force in the whole godless world, and woe is us if it ever falls in to the hands of the wrong people, and that's why woe is us that Edward George Ruddy died. Because this company is now in the hands of CCA - the Communication Corporation of America. There's a new Chairman of the Board, a man called Frank Hackett, sitting in Mr. Ruddy's office on the twentieth floor. And when the twelfth largest company in the world controls the most awesome God-damned propoganda force in the whole godless world, who knows what shit will be peddled for truth on this network?

So, you listen to me. Listen to me: Television is not the truth! Television is a God-damned amusement park! Television is a circus, a carnival, a traveling troupe of acrobats, storytellers, dancers, singers, jugglers, side-show freaks, lion tamers, and football players. We're in the boredom-killing business! So if you want the truth... Go to God! Go to your gurus! Go to yourselves! Because that's the only place you're ever going to find any real truth.

But, man, you're never going to get any truth from us. We'll tell you anything you want to hear; we lie like hell. We'll tell you that, uh, Kojak always gets the killer, or that nobody ever gets cancer at Archie Bunker's house, and no matter how much trouble the hero is in, don't worry, just look at your watch; at the end of the hour he's going to win. We'll tell you any shit you want to hear. We deal in *illusions*, man! None of it is true! But you people sit there, day after day, night after night, all ages, colors, creeds... We're all you know. You're beginning to believe the illusions we're spinning here. You're beginning to think that the tube is reality, and that your own lives are unreal. You do whatever the tube tells you! You dress like the tube, you eat like the tube, you raise your children like the tube, you even *think* like the tube! This is mass madness, you maniacs! In God's name, you people are the real thing! *WE* are the illusion! So turn off your television sets. Turn them off now. Turn them off right now. Turn them off and leave them off! Turn them off right in the middle of the sentence I'm speaking to you now! TURN THEM OFF...

Re:I have one thing to say (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40717505)

Alright, stop... I surrender, where do I sign

Math (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40718005)

At least one of those numbers cannot be correct.
If $600M is a 20% increase, then the original cost was $500M, meaning $1B would be a 100% increase.

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