Viacom punishes Internet to get at DirecTV, yanks Daily Show offline

Viacom and DirecTV are fueding over which Viacom channels will be carried on DirecTV's service. DirecTV has nuked Viacom's channels. In retaliation, Viacom has removed The Daily Show from the Internet. Which is not owned by DirecTV. But a lot of DirecTV customers use the Internet, so maybe they'll complain to DirecTV and participate in Viacom's profit-maximization strategy.

DirecTV doesn’t want to pay that much, and as a result, has dropped all Viacom programming, which includes Comedy Central (No Jon Stewart!), MTV, Nickelodeon and others from its customers' TV options.

So, in a tit-for-tat move, Viacom is now trying to get fans of its content to pressure DirecTV into calling the satellite provider by removing free episodes online, including "Jersey Shore" and "The Daily Show."

Public Knowledge, a public advocacy group, has called this move "unprecedented."

"Viacom has decided to take a service away from all Internet users in its attempt to punish DirecTV," wrote John Bergmayer, senior staff attorney, on the organization’s website on Wednesday.

Viacom pulls "The Daily Show" offline as a result of contract dispute


  1. OK, let me play internet crazy guy for a moment, but here’s a thought:

    Why not just turn off the idiot box for good?

    Seriously, it was the best thing I ever did (Well, I admit to still watching Futurama . . . ;) )

    1. Restricting my internet use has done far more wonders than watching less tv.  I think the computer has replaced the TV has the default “idiot box”.

      1.  Fair enough.

        I applaud any effort to take back one’s life.

        If I may be so bold, I definitely recommend purchasing a DVR.
        20 minutes saved of every hour is nothing to sneeze at.

      1. Hulu carries it as do most torrent sites*.

        * If you don’t mind copyright infringement of time-sensitive shows that have little to no value a week after they air.

        1. time-sensitive shows that have little to no value a week after they air.

          It airs on the East Coast first.  Therefore, I can usually get the torrents for both Daily and Colbert in the West on the same night they air.  Or I just watch whatever aired the night before.

          If Viacom was smart, they’d simulcast online and just put commercials in it and I’d watch that and their commercials.  But, Viacom isn’t smart so they lose money and I still watch the shows on my own terms instead.

        1.  It’s easy to convince the server you are in Canada. Just click on the links *very politely*.



    1. By revoking it from the websites, they greatly reduce audience interaction with the website portal/forums, etc.  What a way to shoot themselves in the foot and drive more people to simply downloading it as a torrent, where they’ll have no interaction on viacom’s website.

    1. Plus there are plenty of places that host cartoons. Redundancy is one of my favorite features in the internet : )

  2. I got rid of cable and bought a set of rabbit ears. I discovered that I was only watching the network shows when I watched T.V. so the $100 a month cable bill was useless. I watch some shows online, but Hulu is losing it’s rights to show most of the cable stuff. Not a loss for me. I find the less I watch, the less I want to watch. At this rate, I will be watching web series and online only  shows in the very near future. T.V. and cable will be nothing more than a bitter memory.

    1.  We did the same. I do miss Spongebob, but I can always just buy the DVDs. We Netflix a bunch – DVDs only since we don’t have anything but dial-up (oh, the horror) out our way.

    2. How do you get your internet? That’s one of the things that’s bugged me about the ‘ditch cable’ thumpers. If the plan is to not give the cable people money…?

  3. Very interesting strategy: it works for a lot of genuinely good causes, eg opposition to ACTA. I guess it’s going to be a matter of how well the same mechanism works for a slightly less-obviously-good cause (ie, do people think about it or do they just jump on the bandwagon). It also depends on DirecTV’s response, because they’re a lot more agile than the normal targets of this sort of thing (ie politicians) and might be able to defend themselves a bit more convincingly. It’d be great if they could do something sufficiently interesting in response that the response gets more support than the original attack – cf the FunnyJunk $20k demand and BearLove as a response.

    1.  This isn’t ‘the same tactic’. The ACTA protests were self-selected by individual websites who wished to shut down for a day in protest of government, this is an ISP arbitrarily blocking chunks of the internet in attempts to further their own profits.

  4. I’m far from being a Luddite and I agree with a previous posting encouraging people to live without television.   You will be better informed and more happy as a result.

  5. Wait, I think I got lost somewhere.  Can I run this summary past someone:

    1 – DirectTV pulls Viacom stuff from TV,
    2 – Viacom pulls the Daily Show from the internet.

    Summary:  Viacom randomly picked something to take away from everyone who uses it’s service to attack a provider of, well, it’s services?

    This is probably why I stopped watching TV, this makes no sense.

    1.   You don’t have the order quite right.

      It went down like this.

      1) Viacom demands more money for their tv programming and DirectTV refuses to pay the increased price
      2) Negotiations fail and Viacom demands that DirectTV remove all Viacom programming from their network. DirectTV complies by removing programming and informing customers that it was Viacom’s fault.
      3) DirectTV unfazed because they say most of the content is free to their users online anyway and that is also a reason not to pay extra.
      4) Viacom throws fit and takes their programming off of the internet (At least the sites that they control) thus removing it for everyone’s use and  replaces content with a letter blaming DirectTV.

      They are both handling this like angry 10 year olds. No one has come out looking terribly adult.

    1.  Because, you’re just a pawn in Big Media’s game, as are we all.

      The only way the Great Captains of Industry will ever take notice, is if enough people vote with their feet and wallets.

      I’ll be waiting for you in the park, Kristin, if you’d like to play some frisbee, or have me read some classical literature to you.
      I’ll be waiting for all of my fellow Happy Mutants.

        1. I hope you can make it to Jones Park in Cedar Rapids by 5 PM, mccrum.
          (Careful, watch that speed trap on the 380 H Street exit!)

          1.  I’m in New York, so I’ll just have to take a rain check.

            However, if you read classical literature really loudly facing eastward I’ll be sure to listen real hard at 6PM local.

          2.  You sounded great by the way.  Everyone around me was really impressed.  We liked the sonnets, but that ode was “real good too” according to the young lady next to me.

  6. Even though I disagree with bundling channels, Viacom’s price requests are not unreasonable.  DirecTV is stonewalling to preserve massive profits.  Their customers are paying the price for the strategy, by still paying full price for the diminished service.  Either Viacom or DirecTV will win in the end, but know this: either way, the customers will lose, and meanwhile will be used as pawns in the game.

    Disclosure: I work for neither company nor any affiliates or competitors, and I get my (overpriced) cable service from Verizon via FiOS.

    1. Yeah, but in theory it’s a free market. So if DirecTV is still trying to charge a banillion dollars per month for service that doesn’t include Comedy Central, MTV and Nickelodeon, you would expect most users to go elsewhere.

      Assuming a free market, either DirecTV will cave (and maybe increase its prices), or it will not carry Viacom and will lower its prices, or it will lose customers. However, I don’t know enough about cable to know if it’s really a free market. I assume, though, that it’s easy enough for DirecTV customers to switch to Dish or FiOS, so the price should be fairly inelastic.

      1. Hey pal, that’s a nice theory ya got there. It’d be a shame if something were to … HAPPEN to it, like say, the unlevel playing field that is reality.

      2. I think that DirectTV kind of shot themselves in the foot when they publicly announced that a good portion of their programming is legally available free online.

        Dear people who pay us. You could have gotten it for free. Not a good business model!

    2. A 30% price increase which adds up to 1 billion dollars seems a wee bit unreasonable to me.

      Disclosure: I also don’t work for either company and watch the Daily Show on Hulu (which is still showing it).

  7. Well THAT was close.

    Viacom almost managed to be the sympathetic party for a minute there.

    Oh, and obligatory “Pirates, as always, are unaffected.”

      1.  I use Adblock.  I didn’t even see the X, whatever that is. works fine for me.

  8. So Viacom is saying they make so little money on web streaming that they can afford to turn the streams off as negotiation  ploy in regards to something they make A LOT of money on. Stuff like this is why you’ll never get a Game of Thrones web only sub option, cable is just way too much of a greater source of revenue for these content providers.

  9. I don’t know whether Viacom is making unreasonable price demands, or whether Direct TV is refusing to pay a fair price. I suspect that both of them are doing just fine no matter which way this works out. I also suspect that the executives at both businesses will continue to enjoy gigantic salaries and bonuses no matter what is resolved.

    But speaking as a regular watcher of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, which I consider the most accurate and smartest political commentary on TV, I will be mightily disappointed if they do not return. And all you TV snobs who suggest that TV entertainment is a waste of time should get over yourselves.  I seem to remember periods of history when critics sneered at Jane Austin novels for being trivial, at abstract art for being a talentless waste of time, motion pictures for being low brow entertainment for poor people, and internet commentary for being all blather. Some of it is, of course, but still….

  10. So did anybody notice that they didn’t take down the Daily show in the least? That is an ad that you cant skip, that has a little “x” in the corner once it’s done. The shows are still there and haven’t been blocked or removed at all.

  11. what i would pay (*) for the chance to subscribe to a net-only, ad-free (or VERY limited ad-only) streaming service of the good stuff from cable-land.

    alas, these content-creating morons seem intent on tying themselves to the cable-delivery monster, and thus getting dragged down with it. i’m 48 years old. god knows what my kinds generation are going to make of a distribution system that relies on wires and whose funding model seems based on making available 200+ channels of complete dreck just so that people can watch Game Of Thrones, Mad Men, No Reservations or whatever actual material works for them. Cable content makers: get a clue! I don’t give a crap about your cable channel, or my cable provider, or your advertisers, or anything except your *show*. Louis CK gets it, why can’t you? And lets be honest, even the not-really-cable companies get it too (*cough* Verizon *cough*). The future of remote visual non-game entertainment is the same as the future of just about everything else: teh Internets. Get on them, or get out of the way.

    (*) ok, not THAT much, but certainly more than the content-providers would get from me via any cable subscription that i would have, were i willing to have such a thing.

  12. I don’t think I can name by 26 favorite channels.  It’s amazing, though, that they were all Viacom channels.

  13. Time for some Sergeant Hartman paraphrasing!

    Viacom: “DirecTV has dishonored itself and dishonored the platoon! I have tried to help it, but I have failed! I have failed because you on the Internet have not helped me! You people have not given DirecTV the proper motivation! So! From now on, whenever DirecTV fucks up, I will not punish it. I will punish all of you! And the way I see it, ladies, you owe me for one Daily Show! Now, get on your faces! “

  14. I love The Daily Show and Colbert, but honestly, they’re off the air more than they’re on anymore. So, it doesn’t feel like I”m really missing anything. 

    That said, if they’re punishing me because of DirectTV then Viacom can eat a bowl of dicks. I’ll give up watching all of their shows for good before I help them wage their little war. What a bizarre move…”I know what will be good for business. Let’s piss everybody off!”

  15. So am I alone in the feeling that I would not shed a tear if all of the corporate media were to become entangled in their own cables and drown in their own effluvia?

  16. When the Daily Show and Colbert come back from hiatus, I’m sure I’ll find them on Usenet.

    Viacom’s strategy encourages piracy. Who woulda thunk it?

  17. Viacom and DirecTV, Dish and AMC… what’s next? Content distribution chain catfight!


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