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Viacom Goes to War With AT&T Over DirecTV Carriage Deal – Variety


Viacom has declared war against AT&T, blasting the telco giant on several fronts as the companies wrestle over a carriage renewal deal that is vital to Viacom’s long-term financial health.

As of today, Viacom has begun running crawls and promo spots on its channels warning viewers that Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, BET, MTV and other channels could go dark on AT&T’s DirecTV as of midnight ET on Friday, when the current contract expires.

A Viacom spokesman accused AT&T of everything from price gouging to discriminating against “diverse audiences” with the channel selections in its latest packages of skinny bundles for the DirecTV Now and Watch TV streaming platforms.

“Unfortunately, AT&T is abusing its new market position by favoring its own content – which significantly underperforms Viacom’s – to stifle competition,” a Viacom spokesman said. “AT&T-DirecTV’s behavior is also consistent with a recent pattern of gouging their customers by charging them higher prices for an inferior product with fewer channels. Especially troubling, AT&T-DirecTV is marginalizing diverse audiences in its new DTV packages and threatening to do the same with their existing products.”

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