DirecTV subscribers may be missing some of their favorite channels after an ongoing contract dispute with media company Viacom caused the cable giant to pull some popular channels from the dish network July 11.

BET, MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, and Spike are among the 17 Viacom channels DirecTV’s 20 million customers are without.

Viacom and DirecTV have been unable to agree on a new contract to renew their service contract, as DirecTV claims Viacom wants viewers to pick up a 30 percent increase to continue receiving the channels.

DirecTV calculates that the increase would equal an additional $1 billion, “despite the fact that the ratings for many of their main networking have plummeted and much of Viacom’s programming can be seen for free online,” said Derek Chang, DirecTV executive vice president of Content, Strategy and Development.

In a July 12 post on its official blog, Viacom stated, “The last time we spoke with DirecTV was at 11:00 a.m. yesterday morning and there were no new ideas offered for resolution. In fact, the last proposal DirecTV had made was lower than anyone else pays in the industry… DirecTV also refused to engage with us on any issues related to the deal beyond the rate increase.”

A statement released by DirecTV July 11 confirmed the discontinuance of the 17 channels by DirecTV at midnight Eastern time. “DIRECTV executives reached out to Viacom both yesterday and today with a new proposal and a request to keep the channels on while we continued to negotiate, but never heard back, so DIRECTV had to comply with their demand to take the channels down or face legal action,” stated the press release.

Prior to the fall out, Twitter and Facebook went into an uproar with hashtags from people and celebrities in support of both MTV, #WhenDirecTVDrops, and DirecTV #DirecttvHasMyBack. Viacom is also using Facebook and YouTube as a vehicle to bring attention to the public about the dispute.

“DirecTV is doing a lot of spinning, and very little to get the deal done,” Viacom said in a statement released just prior to the deadline cut off. “Viacom’s team is ready and willing to negotiate.”

A similar battle ensued between Dish and AMC on July 1 with the cable provider severing ties with the AMC Network, AMC, Sundance and WE, after AMC urged subscribers to drop the network with its “Save the White House Campaign.”

Krishana Davis

AFRO Staff Writers