DirecTV seems to be winning the public relations battle in its war with Viacom over programming costs. Change.org, a website focused on enabling end users to create on-line petitions, reports that three people have created petitions taking DirecTV’s side in the dispute while only one petition has been created that is critical of DirecTV. The petitions critical of Viacom also have more signatures – between 340 and 13,000 apiece as of this writing. In contrast, the petition critical of DirecTV currently has less than 25 signatures.
At Viacom’s insistence, DirecTV subscribers for the last week have been unable to watch a range of Viacom channels, including Nickelodeon and Comedy Central. A contract between the two companies has expired and the parties have been unable to come to an agreement on pricing.
DirecTV says the 30% price hike Viacom is requesting is too high. Viacom maintains that the rate increase it has requested is “fair, reasonable and in line with what we’re paid by every other cable and satellite provider in the industry.”
But no one likes a price increase. And judging by the Change.org petitions, most viewers appear more sympathetic toward DirecTV.
Viacom believes “that if they say something enough times it will be true, in this case blaming DirecTV for “dropping” channels, when in fact it will be Viacom rescinding DirecTV’s transmission rights if DirecTV doesn’t give in to Viacom’s bullying,” writes one petitioner at Change.org.
“Viacom is being GREEDY, and is trying to pin all the blame on DirtecTV,” argues another petitioner. “They are running a smear campaign and need to realize that us consumers will not allow them to deceive us and that we don’t appreciate them trying to get us consumers to blame DirecTV. Sign this petition to let Viacom know we won’t let them get away with this deception and greediness.”
Some people signing the petitions took offense at Viacom ads featuring cartoon characters from some of the content provider’s favorite shows that said DirecTV had dropped the Viacom programming and urging them to call DirecTV to complain.
“I am tired of the nonsense,” wrote one anti-Viacom petition signer. “They are not hurting me, they are hurting my children and other children. I will not support anyone who will use children and childrens’ shows in this manner!”
Meanwhile, those people signing the anti-DirecTV petition are angry that they are paying for channels they are not receiving.
“DirecTV should either come to an agreement with Viacom or allow its customers the option to leave whether they are in contract or not,” argues the petitioner.