Media Giants Behaving Badly, and Nobody Wins

Last night I was watching the Daily Show on Dish Network when a scroll went across the bottom of the screen addressed to Dish Network viewers, apparently from Comedy Central owner Viacom, telling us that Dish was going to drop Viacom owned channels. Then, about halfway through the scroll, the message was covered out by a black bar across the bottom of the screen.

Quite a strange moment of media giant tit-for-tat.

I hadn’t really paid attention to the contract negotiation squabbling between Dish owner Echostar and Viacom, but last night’s little stunt got me interested.

Today I find out that Dish indeed did drop all of Viacom’s cable channels from their line-up. The dispute between the companies centers on Viacom trying to force Dish to carry some extra channels as a condition of being able to carry the popular ones like MTV and VH1. Echostar has filed suit against Viacom, charging them with antitrust violations.

Of course, the real loser here is the Dish Network subscriber. Frankly, I don’t give a crap about MTV, VH1 and most of the other Viacom dreck. But I NEED my Daily Show fix, man. But will I get some kind of pro-rated discount for all the days when I don’t have all the channels I pay for?