DirecTV and Viacom Inc. are continuing talks today into tonight in an attempt to reach terms in a contract dispute by midnight Tuesday.
The companies have been negotiating for several months and extended the original June 30th expiration date in an attempt to avoid a Viacom “blackout” on DirecTV.
Viacom says that if an agreement cannot be reached, DirecTV subscribers will lose 26 total channels. The channels lost would include Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central, BET, VH1 and other popular Viacom stations. Nickelodeon is DirecTV’s most watched channel.
DirecTV asked Viacom to allow the channels to remain on-air until an agreement is reached, however Viacom does not intend to comply.
DirecTV contends that Viacom is seeking a 30 percent (roughly 1 billion dollars) increased payment from the television provider in the new cotract. Viacom spokesman Mark Jafar insists that the rate increase would only result in a few extra cents per month from subscribers.
Viacom on-air personalities Daniel Tosh, Snooki and Stephen Colbert were recruited for a commercial urging DirecTV subscribers to petition their provider not to drop the shows.
DirecTV is using Facebook to tell its version of the situation. It has also listed out other online resources for customers to continue viewing Viacom programming if Viacom does blackout its channels tonight.
Viacom and DirecTV will continue contract negotiations until and, if necessary, past the midnight deadline.