How the DirecTV and Viacom clash affects everyone

10:47 PM, Jul 12, 2012   |    comments
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PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - DirecTV subscribers have been denied access to all Viacom channels since Tuesday, but now all fans of Viacom shows, such as "The Daily Show" and "SpongeBob SquarePants," are feeling the affects too. 

A new development in this feud means that anyone who wants to watch a Viacom channel online is out of luck. Beginning Wednesday, Viacom has blocked everyone from viewing full episodes. Some of the networks that have been blocked include Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, CMT, and VH1. Viacom says there is a total of 25 blocked channels, while DirecTV says it's closer to 18.

In a dispute over prices with Viacom, DirecTV has blacked out Viacom networks. At the heart of the dispute is how much DirecTV is willing to pay Viacom to carry its channels. DirecTV claims Viacom is asking for a 30% increase. Viacom won't discuss the figures, but says it's been underpaid for years.

While individual channels don't have the clout to on their own with service providers like DirecTV or Time Warner, their parent company, Viacom, does. Viacom has set a flat rate for their all their networks together, regardless of their individual strength. The service provider then passes the cost of those channels on to their customers. DirecTV says Viacom's demand for higher rates means a similar rate hike for their customers.

You can watch some of the missing shows on Hulu for free, but not all programs are posted there. There are also some paid alternatives on sites such as Amazon or iTunes.

In the state of Maine, DirecTV has roughly 90,000 customers.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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