For many adults between the ages of 20 to 45, cable TV was a staple of everyday life — and something that a lot of us automatically purchased for our homes when it came time to make nests of our own. But for the younger folks who have no memory of a world without widespread access to broadband Internet, cable could be looking more and more like a relic of an older world.
Have you been staring sullenly at your cable or satellite bill, wishing you maybe didn’t have to pay so much for TV anymore? Seems some customers are getting turned off pay-TV services, as DirecTV says it’s finally losing subscribers for the first time, with a downturn of 52,000 customers between April and June. It added 26,000 customers in the same time frame last year, which is the toughest time of the season for luring in new customers.
A little more than a week into the epic contract battle between DirecTV and Viacom and a deal has finally been reached, despite Viacom’s statement on Wednesday that such an agreement wasn’t expected soon. The two companies kissed and made up early this morning, which means customers will now be reunited with their MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and VH1.
It’s been a week since DirecTV and Viacom’s contract dispute resulted in nearly 20 million satellite customers staring at blank screens instead of MTV, Comedy Central, Vh1, Nickelodeon and several other Viacom-owned stations. Now the broadcaster is telling viewers not to get their hopes up for a quick resolution.
For DirecTV subscribers, the ongoing Viacom blackout means it’s been nearly a week since they’ve been able to watch MTV, Comedy Central, Vh1, or Nickelodeon — at least without going to the neighbor’s house. In a move to win viewers over to its side of the battle, Viacom has decided that maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to remove those full episodes of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report from the Comedy Central website.
Steevo is frustrated with DirecTV. He’s been a customer for about thirteen years, and for twelve of those years, he was pretty happy with the price and service. That’s because the price never changed. Twelve years in, they raised his rate. After he called, complained, and mentioned that he’d rather leave than do business with a company that hikes the rates of loyal customers because they’re loyal customers. They lowered his rate… until this month.
We’re now a few days into the fight between Viacom and DirecTV that has left nearly 20 million of the satellite service’s customers without 26 channels, including MTV, Nickelodeon, and Comedy Central. And while the two parties are reportedly trying to hammer out a resolution, Viacom’s Twitter account is only stoking the anti-DirecTV fires.
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.
It’s one day into the standoff between DirecTV and Viacom and neither side is showing signs of backing down (though, the way these things go, they could be kissing and making up within the hour). In the meantime, millions of DirecTV customers have to go to their friends’ houses to watch Teen Mom reruns. So what’s the satellite company doing to make up for the 26 missing channels?
As we reported early Tuesday morning, contract negotiations between DirecTV and Viacom had broken down in recent days, meaning nearly 20 million satellite subscribers could be without 26 channels, including basic cable mainstays like MTV, Vh1, Comedy Central, and Nickelodeon. The deadline has come and gone, and those channels have vanished from DirecTV.
Way back in 2004, Cameron had DirecTV service. When he moved, he ended his service and turned his equipment back in. At least, he thought he did. It wasn’t until this year that he learned the account had gone zombie back in 2005, charging the debit card of a bank account he didn’t watch closely for two years before going dormant–likely because the debit card expired. The zombie account had been slain, and a collection agency tracked Cameron down earlier this year to make him pay the balance on the account that he had never reactivated in the first place. Never mind that he had paid almost two years’ worth of bills without noticing it or even having a dish at the time.
Reader Synimatik became a DirecTV customer about a year ago, and the installer bolted the dish to his deck because it would supposedly work better. The problem was that the dish faced some trees, receiving its signal over the tops of those trees. The installer assured him that these trees wouldn’t pose any problem. And trees have this unfortunate tendency to grow. Not if you ask DirecTV, though–they insist that “there [was] no way for the to know the trees would grow.” So Synimatik has to pay to have the dish relocated.
It was pretty thoughtful of DirecTV to automatically renew Pete’s $198 NFL Sunday Ticket subscription. You know, in case he forgot. He didn’t forget, actually, and he was planning to discontinue his subscription to the package. He can’t. The auto-renew stands, and he won’t be allowed to cancel the package until a month after the auto-renewal notice. You know, just in case he forgets.
Even if your older HDTV has an HDMI port, you may not be able to connect your DirecTV receiver to your TV — at least not if you want to watch HBO.
Do you think Ford would ever send you a letter suggesting you give Toyota a try? Or would McDonald’s ever shoot you an e-mail telling you to check out the lovely Burger Kings in your new neighborhood? Of course not. So why would the cable industry not care which company you choose?
Today is the day that most Major League Baseball teams begin the 2012 season. And up until Wednesday afternoon, it looked like DirecTV customers in Philadelphia and Chicago wouldn’t be able to watch their hometown teams because of a protracted contract dispute between the satellite provider and the Tribune Company.
For years, Philadelphia Phillies fans with DirecTV have found themselves unable to watch most of the team’s games because the satellite provider and Comcast refuse to come to a resolution over the channel that carries those contests. Now another annoying slap-fight between DirecTV and a broadcaster has left its Philadelphia-area subscribers completely in the dark for this upcoming baseball season.