Viacom Takes Down Full Episodes Of TV Shows To Punish Everyone For DirecTV Dispute

The catfight between DirecTV and Viacom took a nasty turn this afternoon, as the broadcaster decided that it would temporarily stop streaming full episodes of some its shows simply because DirecTV pointed out to its ticked-off customers they could get some of their blacked-out favorites online.

“We still have hundreds of long-form episodes remain online, for free, but we have temporarily slimmed down our offerings as DirecTV markets them as an alternative to having our networks,” a Viacom rep tells Gigaom.com about its decision to pull some viewer favorites like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, both of which are on vacation anyway.

Perhaps more annoying is the fact that going to Viacom sites like ComedyCentral.com forces viewers to sit through a loud, repetitive ad exhorting DirecTV customers to contact the satellite folks about the lack of Nickelodeon and Vh1 Classics.

Gigaom reports that Viacom offerings will still be made available on Hulu and other third-party streaming sites. This stands in contrast to the 2010 fight between Fox and Cablevision, in which the broadcaster was able to block Cablevision cable customers from accessing its videos on Hulu.

Some reports claim that the DirecTV and Viacom have come back to the negotiating table, so hopefully the nearly 20 million satellite customers will soon get back all the stations they pay for every month. In the meantime, DirecTV is giving customers free access to the Encore movie channels.

Fighting DirecTV, Viacom takes down its shows for everyone [GigaOm.com]

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. JReedNet says:

    Viacom pulls selfish anti consumer moves like these and expects us to place the blame on Dish??

    • momoftwokids says:

      Not Dish, the other satellite provider DirectTV. Oh wait, they are pretty interchangable aren’t they.

  2. LuzioFantazmic says:

    Wouldn’t expect anything else from the company that brought the world Blockbuster’s 2 day rentals that charged you a late fee when you returned it 2 days later.

    • alexwade says:

      Ah yes. I remember the last time I walked into a Blockbuster video. I was charged a late fee for being 1 minute late. I paid it and I never again walked into the place.

      • aaronx says:

        Doubtful. Blockbuster had (has?) a 2 hour grace period after the return deadline before their POS system charged late fees. This allowed the CSRs time to actually check the movies in and avoid situations like you’ve described.

        If your movie was due at 12:00 and you returned it at 12:01 their POS system would not charge a late fee.

  3. Zclyh3 says:

    Doing something like this just fuels users to turn towards piracy. Cant get my show through legal means? Then you leave me no choice to obtain shows through other means.

    • TrustAvidity says:

      I logged in to say just that. They back their consumers into a corner and then get all huffy when they obtain shows elsewhere.

      • TrustAvidity says:

        Not to mention, what about customers on other TV services that are paying for those stations? They’re just SOL on watching those shows online because of a dispute with a different provider?

      • BrownLeopard says:

        Same here. There are sites like TPB, EZTV, etc where you can get shows an hour or two after they are broadcast. This is part of the reason that piracy abounds: greed of the corporations that release material.

        • YouDidWhatNow? says:

          No…piracy abounds because people like you think the law doesn’t apply to them, and they’re just entitled to take whatever they want without paying for it.

          • Blueskylaw says:

            Do you obey the speed limit and come to a complete stop at every stop sign you come to?

            • YouDidWhatNow? says:

              Nope. Neither do you. But neither of us are getting something out of that that someone should have been paid for, either.

    • NallTWD says:

      They’ll make money either way, whether it’s in advertizing or suing each individual viewer for obscene and inflated amounts of money.

    • YouDidWhatNow? says:

      Nope.

      You can still get their programming via legal means…like another service provider. Whether that means Dish instead of DirecTV or Netflix or Hulu or whatever. Or maybe it’s available on DVD…or will be in a while, in which case you can wait.

      Ultimately, even if it well and truly wasn’t available in any format, you still are entitled to pirate it. “Leave me no choice?” Please. You can always choose to just abide by the laws of the land. What you mean to say is “You’re not doing things the way I want you to do them, and because I’m horrifically self-centered and overly-entitled I’ll just break the law to get what I want because I want it and therefore the law doesn’t apply to me.”

      • rdaex says:

        Not sure I can get behind this argument.
        There is no LAW that is responsible for the programming being removed from the air… just two petty arguing billionaires arguing about millions.

        Many customers have no other options other than a specific cable or sattelite company.. what should those customers do?

        Pirating the shows is the only option they have to watch them now, and that decision was made when the companies decided to be petulant whiney bitches

      • 180CS says:

        WOW. YOU’RE THE GUY WHO CAME UP WITH THE CRACK MONKEY?!

        Oh. You’re not? Oh…oh….ohhhhhh….. Well, look on the bright side, DMCA limits your maximum liability for that copyright infringement to $250,000.

        Let’s say I buy a subscription to Gevalia coffee, and one of my assorted flavors stops coming through because the suppler of some proprietary flavoring throws a bitch fit. Do I cancel my subscription, pay an ETF because of that, and go to a provider who doesn’t cater to my needs as good as Gevalia was originally able to, or do I go buy an illegal replica of the formula online for less than the cost and time involved with cancelling my Genitalia subscription? Even an idiot can figure this one out.

        • YouDidWhatNow? says:

          If you’re under contract and the contract said you were getting X brand of coffee, and X brand goes away, you can legally get out of your contract without ETF.

          If you then want to switch coffee providers, go ahead. You’re still paying someone for that coffee, assuming you don’t just start stealing it from the store.

  4. greatgoogly says:

    The stupidity of Viacom is incredible. Just pushing people once more to “alternative methods of acquisition of content”… aka torrenting…

    • YouDidWhatNow? says:

      …right. Because you couldn’t possibly get their stuff from *anywhere* legal. Like Dish, cable, Hulu, Netflix, iToons, whatever.

      • iopsyc says:

        DirectTV subscribers are not likely to change service providers (e.g. cable, Dish) for one or two Viacom shows. What is more likely is that those who are inclined to pirate would rather torrent those shows.

        Viacom should know the reality of the situation.

        • YouDidWhatNow? says:

          …the fact that some (or all, even) people are “likely” to go and start pirating things does not make it right, and there still is no justification for such behavior anyway.

  5. The_Fuzz_53 says:

    This is truly disgusting on Viacom’s part. I am a Directv customer and firmly support them for holding their ground. A 30% increase to be forced to pay for garbage like 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom is disgusting. Viacom can go to hell. They sure know how to ruin a good thing. Look what happened to their radio division after pissing off Howard Stern to the point that he had to leave.

    • YouDidWhatNow? says:

      …which is why we really should get some kinds of regulations in this industry to illegalify “bundling” – in all forms, both from producers to TV service providers, and from TV service providers to consumers.

      Cafeteria plans all around. Lots of the BS channels that no one wants, but are forced to subsidize via bundles, will just simply have to die in the free market. Because they should.

  6. Auron says:

    Hulu being able to blacklist the IP addresses of Cablevision’s customers was so much easier than being able to blacklist the addresses of sat customers. Why? Because with Cablevision, they operate withing a specific geographic range, hence the range of addresses would be easier to block. DirectTV/DIsh customers aren’t in a specific geographic range. So its not even a close comparison.

  7. Polish Engineer says:

    I ran across this last night, and my first reaction was the Viacom was angry about the Dish deal. Then I calmed down and rationalized that Stewart and Colbert are on vacation and they are just doing some server maintenance. No multibillion dollar company would be so petty as to punish ALL of their viewers over a contract dispute with a carrier… RIGHT?

    The fact that they fully admit this was intentional and due to the Dish contract shows how little about the customer this whole thing is. Not only that, it’s crazy because you can surf your happy self right over to hulu and get the same content. Really? How childish are they…

  8. Ben says:

    So they WANT us to pirate these shows?

  9. HomerSimpson says:

    I wonder if they’ll start cracking down on Youtube videos again seeing how petty this is becoming.

    Oh, BTW…Viacom can go SUCK IT (and I’m not even a DTV sub)

  10. aleck says:

    This is so weak. Viacom cuts off everybody just because of a pissing match with DirecTV. I am going back to torrenting, they are obviously giving no incentive for people to watch the shows in a legitimate way.

  11. dicobalt says:

    That’s ok, cable TV costs too much and I have better things to do anyhow.

    • HomerSimpson says:

      NO YOU DON’T!!!! YOU MUST WATCH OUR SHOWS OR YOU’LL DIE!!!!!

    • RadarOReally has got the Post-Vacation Blues says:

      No, you don’t understand. Per many of the posters above, this just give them the moral high ground to steal the shows.

      Yes, Viacom are being grade A douchebags over this. But most people seem to be looking for any excuse to justify just pirating the shows.

      • Galium says:

        Our forefathers and mothers dumped tea into the Boston harbor for similar reasons. The only difference is England was a country; Viacom is nothing but a bunch of scum, looking to fleece everyone they can for as much as they can. When being oppressed by tyrants, be they a country or a corporation, you either fight back or lie down and let them roll over you again and again etc. Personally I would rather see Direct TV dump Viacom permanently. I am not so desperate to watch a few TV programs that I would let someone sh$$ on me to have the paying privilege of watching their few programs. You also do not seem to understand that any program that is lost because Viacom is dumped would eventually morph and go to other networks if the popularity is there. I have no problem with business’s making a living for their employees and profit for stock holders, but Viacom continually holds hostage their programing to increase their profit beyond what is needed. I believe it is time for Viacom and other corporations with the same attitude to keep the hostage. Viacom has shown their true colors in their pettiness and it seems many believe this is ok to be rewarded by giving in to them which is a personal choice, but it will continue to happen again and again until people stand up to them. We are a country of coffee drinkers because of the Boston harbor incident instead of tea drinkers, there are also substitutes to Viacom. Boycott (fight back) against those that tell you to bend over, or squeal like a pig, your choice.

        • becina says:

          You lost me at Our forefathers….really? You’re comparing a cable dispute to our nation’s revolution?

          • JEDIDIAH says:

            No. He’s comparing it to the Boston Tea party: an act of theft and vandalism against a large corrupt corporation that was a state sanctioned monopoly.

          • Galium says:

            I was comparing the Boston tea party, not the revolution. It is unfortunate that you did not continue reading, maybe you would have reached the point of understanding that I was saying boycott those who would oppress. “Oppression is the exercise of authority or power in a burdensome, cruel, or unjust manner.” wiki. What part of oppression do you not understand, and whom do you think will eat the cost of this and similar disputes year after year?

            • YouDidWhatNow? says:

              Oppression? REALLY? GTFO. That’s so utterly retarded…f%ck I think you just gave me an aneurysm.

              There is never any justification for going and breaking the law to get a TV show/movie/whatever you want.

              You can get it from another provider, legally. Or you can wait for it on disk…legally. Or you can do without…legally…and not be such an entitled douchebag that you think you’re above the law and can do whatever you want when a vendor isn’t providing a product you want in the way you want it.

              • Galium says:

                Since when is boycotting against the law? Try reading comprehension 101 it helps. You also called me a entitled douchebag can you point out where I said anything about being owed anything except common respect and a fair shake. Then again from your writing I would assume that you have no idea what either self respect or decent dealings with others mean.

                • YouDidWhatNow? says:

                  …I said nothing about boycotting being against the law – and you’re accusing me of having reading comprehension problems? I didn’t even mention that word.

                  Your attempt to declare this to be an “oppression” is what’s laughable. It’s a f%cking TV show. Get the hell over yourself.

                  You want people to treat you with respect? Try not going batsh!t crazy over stuff that categorically makes no difference.

              • drjayphd says:

                Justification doesn’t mean people are trying to say they’re not breaking the law. Anti-competitive moves such as Viacom yanking programming from their website just because of a pissing match with some other company will lead people to break IP rules. It doesn’t make it right or legal, but understandable.

                Besides, the actions of trade groups have really not given customers much of a reason to respect the law. That’s part of why music piracy took off faster than TV/movie piracy (bandwidth probably had more to do with it, but this was a factor): the TV and movie industries tried to offer a convenient and legal way to watch stuff online. The RIAA and major labels just whined and called their lawyers. Although I’m guessing that music piracy has either leveled off or stopped growing as fast since services such as Spotify came around. Give people a way to legally consume entertainment and more often than not, they’ll go the legal route.

                • YouDidWhatNow? says:

                  I’ve pointed out that there are still plenty of perfectly legal options to get this content.

                  Or, you can just do without.

                  There is no justification for pirating anything. Period. You can bitch and whine all you want, but the only correct choices you have are to change to another legal method of getting the shows you want, or going without.

                  There is never justification for pirating anything, ever. And stop trying to switch terms to “understandable.” I would like everything in the world to be free to me too…that’s “understandable.” But I don’t just go and take it.

      • opemily says:

        If Viacom wants to they can make a deal with other production companies
        and then they can offer their product for a monthly subscription online. It can be like Hulu and Netflix and Christmas all combined in one. I would certainly buy that package if I had the option. 80% of tv channel programming is syndication anyway.
        Also, they could data mine the hell out of it. What are the viewing habits of males in their mid twenties and what ads do they click on (or like or whatever)? If I watch law and order and csi reruns would I like to watch this new crime show they’re developing? Would you like me to take a survey and enter for a chance to win 3 months of free subscription?

  12. cactus jack says:

    Punish the customers, that’ll show them.

  13. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Every time these negotiations happen, I pray it’s the catalyst for al la carte pricing.

    • blogger X says:

      I am a fan of this option, but I’m afraid of how much ESPN will price gouge for all of their channels, and HBO.

  14. MrEvil says:

    Viacom is only hurting themselves by doing this. Think of all the cable subscribers they’re pissing off.

    It’s about time a network got it through it’s skull that just because they think their product is worth $X Doesn’t mean that the market will pay it. The product is only worth as much money as someone is willing to pay for it.

  15. HomerSimpson says:

    “YOU WILL BE ASSIMILATED!!!! THE BIG V OF DOOM WILL SEE TO IT THAT IT HAPPENS!!!!!”

  16. Guppy06 says:

    A pox on both their houses.

  17. hexx says:

    DirectTV users can get Daily Show and Colbert Report on Hulu.

  18. Torchwood says:

    I am so tempted to call DirecTV and tell them that I will cancel their service if they bring back the Viacom channels.

  19. RAEdwards says:

    Not to defend Viacom, but there are legal means to get your show. iTunes, Hulu etc. We need to rise above the “entitled” mentality we have about things.

    http://www.code-magazine.com/Article.aspx?quickid=1208011

  20. BigDragon says:

    People still watch The Daily Show? I’m glad to see that Viacom junk isn’t going to be clogging up the internet for the next several days in addition to being off the air. Their content and channels are crap. About the only thing interesting is Tosh.0 which can be easily duplicated using YouTube and DailyMotion. Viacom sure is throwing one big hissy fit over their battle with DirecTV. I remember when Kings Dominion was controlled by Viacom — they turned it into a dump. Screw them, go DirecTV!

  21. Emily says:

    Wow, not only showing their colors, but shooting themselves in the foot… god forbid anyone should go to the Viacom Web sites and watch their advertising.

  22. axiomatic says:

    Both of these companies need to grow up and stop using their paying customer base as a tool for blackmail.

  23. HogwartsProfessor says:

    Hee hee, I just went to their website and sent them this message:

    “Wow, good thing I suspended my DirecTV. Although it was due to economic factors, it was a good decision. Know why?

    I don’t miss it. There was nothing to watch!

    90% of the content you’re fighting with them over is worthless, mindless, idiot pap. (Well, except for Penguins of Madagascar. That’s pretty good.) When the quality of shows begins to rise from the Jersey Shore level, perhaps then I’ll go back to pay TV. And when I don’t have to pay through the nose for one good channel and 750 junk/God/shopping channels. Ugh.

    You and all the other providers need to work on producing some content that is actually good. Truly, if you produce GOOD stuff at a REASONABLE price, people will buy.

    No one wants to spend money on crap; we don’t have it. That’s why no one is going to movies anymore. That, and we like streaming. It’s convenient, if we have to miss a show.

    WE WILL PAY FOR IT IF YOU MAKE IT EASY AND AFFORDABLE. Otherwise, stupid people will torrent, and people like me will just pull the plug.

    Bye now.”

    No one will read it, but it made me feel better.