NEW YORK - JUNE 2: (FILE PHOTO) The Viacom logo is seen outside company headquarters June 2, 2003 in New York City. Viacom, Inc. announced October 23, 2003 that it had exceeded its third quarter earnings target as net income rose to $700 million or 9%. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)
DirecTV Group Inc. stopped carrying channels owned by Viacom Inc. because of a contract dispute. They include MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central.
The dispute is over how much DirecTV should pay to carry the Viacom programming. The two companies blamed each other for the shutdown.
Viacom and DirecTV have had an agreement for seven years, which Viacom says meant that it has been paid below-market rates for the programming. DirecTV, meanwhile, says Viacom is asking for too much money.
DirecTV has 20 million U.S. subscribers. More than 40 percent of television viewers in the greater Denver area use a satellite provider. That amounts to 638,000 homes.
The Viacom disagreement has led to the complete "removal" of the following channels:
- Comedy Central
- TV Land
- Nick Jr.
Cable network AMC launched an ad campaign on billboards and buses in Denver aimed at Dish Network over a similar dispute.
The ads have what looks like the logo for the White House with the message: "ATTENTION DISH CUSTOMERS: YOU HAVE LOST ACCESS TO THE WHITE HOUSE."
In this case, "White House" is a reference to the home of Walter White, the main character on AMC's hit show Breaking Bad.
Dish dropped AMC and a handful of other channels owned by the company, citing disproportionate costs and dilution of the value of its shows because they are available on web-based streaming services like Netflix.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)