At midnight Tuesday, about 20 million DirecTV subscribers found popular channels like Nickelodeon, MTV and Comedy Central blacked out thanks to a contract dispute between the satellite carrier and media giant Viacom.
The two companies are counter-marketing their positions to their respective customers online; meanwhile, one analyst believes the channels could stay dark for as long as a month, according to the New York Times.
DirecTV suggested subscribers go online to watch unavailable programs, which led Viacom to pull many full-length shows like "The Colbert Report".
"Viacom is now not only holding DirecTV customers hostage, but all online viewers as well," DirecTV said in a statement.
"Is this just another underhanded negotiating tactic, or does this mean that Viacom will no longer offer its content free online?"
Meanwhile, Viacom blogged:
We proposed a fair deal that amounted to an increase of only a couple pennies per day, per subscriber, and we remained willing to negotiate that deal right up to this evening’s deadline. However, DirecTV refused to engage in meaningful conversation. We are hopeful that DirecTV will work with us toward a resolution, and stop denying its subscribers access to the networks they watch most.
Local DirecTV customers affected by the blackout can call the company at 800-370-3587.