Satellite TV provider DirecTV and Viacom have finally reached a long term agreement to restore 17 channels to DirecTV customers, ending a bitter dispute that neither side could afford to let drag on. Be that as it may, the disagreement over financial terms of a contract renewal went on longer than it should have, resulting in a blackout of popular channels like Comedy Central, MTV, BET, Spike, CMT, and TV Land, along with ten others, while customers were used as pawns in contract negotiations.
Bruhahas between satellite television providers and studio networks rarely deserve a mention in the hallowed e-pages of Maximum PC, but the spat between Viacom and DirecTV recently took a turn for the worse that may interest dedicated cord cutters. Viacom's demand for a $1 billion increase in its contract with DirecTV prompted the satellite company to instead yank Viacom's stations from the air -- Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, MTV, BET, more, all gone. In response, Viacom yanked any full, streaming episodes from its properties' various websites. Wait, what?
Time Warner has rolled out a new TV viewing option for its customers to enjoy from the safety of home (and only from home). Live TV streams are now flowing to compatible web browsers for those with Time Warner TV and internet services. The TWC TV web app is in beta, but supports Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari. Although, the service does have a number of catches.
Amazon announced a deal with Viacom today that brings it one step closer to truly competing with Netflix as a streaming video service. Amazon Prime Video will soon be streaming TV shows from MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, and Comedy Central to Prime subscribers. The 2,000 new titles will push Amazon’s Prime offerings to roughly 15,000.
Feeling a little slighted after selling off Rock Band subsidiary Harrmonix, Viacom is seeking damages from the shareholders of the former partner. The suit is seeking damages in the amount of $131 million. As it happens, Viacom paid only $149 million for the company in 2006 when the plastic instrument gaming market was hot.
Viacom isn't done ruining everyone's good time. Nope, not by a long shot. The content giant has notified Cablevision that their iPad app, which allows streaming live TV to the device, is not acceptable. The app only works in the customer's home, but Viacom still considers this sort of use to be outside the realm of existing content deals.
All Things D is reporting today that the Hulu deal that resulted in the return of The Daily Show among other programs cost more than you might expect. Those close to the deal say Hulu is paying at least $40 million to Viacom. The payment could go up depending on the performance of the content.
The length of the deal has not been disclosed to the general public, but Viacom has said the arrangement will go into 2012. We suspect a 2 year deal. The Daily Show and Colbert Report will be available the day after they air, but some other Viacom properties will only be on Hulu 21 days after their premiere.
Hulu likely expects to increase ad revenue with these popular shows, and they're going to have to considering the price they paid. Are you more likely to watch Hulu with these shows once again available?
The AP is reporting today that Viacom has officially filed for appeal in the YouTube copyright infringement case. You may remember that as the long running case that finally came to an end a few months back. The verdict affirmed YouTube's protection under "safe harbor" provisions. This means YouTube cannot be held liable for copyrighted content that is uploaded by users, provided they make a good faith effort to remove it. Viacom is seeking over $1 billion in damages.
Viacom has retained well-known attorney Theodore Olson to continue the legal battle. Olson has called the last ruling "a very bad decision". Speaking about bad decisions, the original case seemed to turn against Viacom when it was revealed that Viacom employees were instructed to surreptitiously upload copyrighted content to YouTube in the early days. Some of those Viacom clips are alleged to be included in the lawsuit.
Viacom seems determined to spare no expense in its quest to fundamentally break the internet. Do you think they will succeed?
Another day, another network shunning the Google TV platform. Following the recent announcement that Fox became the last of the major networks to block Google TV, Viacom has decided to block its content as well, according to The Washington Post.
This ranks as another major blow to Google TV, as Viacom owns and operates a number of prominent networks, including BET, CMT, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Spike, TV Land, and VH1, among others.
"We're blocking access to our full episode content from Google TV's Web browser," the company said in a statement. "We continue to evaluate Google TV to identify opportunities where it may make sense to optimize our Web content for the platform."
According to CrunchGear, that leaves only Time Warner and its subsidiary Turner Broadcasting as the only media company that has yet to take its ball and go home.
The legal battle of Viacom against Google took years to come to some sort of conclusion. We knew lawyers weren't cheap, but in their recent earnings call, Google CFO Patrick Pichette reminded us just how not cheap. Google spent $100 million defending themselves in the Viacom-YouTube copyright infringement lawsuit, and the case didn't even make it to trial.
A judge dismissed the case last month, and Google is declaring victory. Though, there is still the possibility Viacom could appeal. But considering how much Google spent on this little endeavor, we imagine Viacom's bill was just as high, if not higher. When the total amount of damages requested was only $1 billion, Viacom might be doing the math. Add to that the strong language the judge used in the judgment, coming down on the side of "safe harbor", and Viacom might do better to move on.