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Dispute leaves channels in the dark, Halifax customers upset

Children can no longer watch Nickelodeon, and their parents can’t enjoy favorite shows on TV Land. Thanks to a dispute between DirecTV and Viacom.


Customers of DirecTV have been experiencing “TV channel blackout” since midnight last Tuesday. 

An ongoing battle between DirecTV and Viacom has caused Viacom to drop 26 channels from DirecTV programming including the popular Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central, BET, VH1, CMT, Spike TV, TV Land and more.

Some customers have made their voices heard by calling or even leaving messages on both DirecTV and Viacom websites.

“I left a message letting them know they had made my 6-year old cry because she can’t watch SpongeBob anymore,” said Cathy Beadles of Halifax.

“It’s disheartening, the greed, and how they can’t come to an agreement, but we’re still paying the same amount,” said Beadles.

Since her youngest daughter has been missing the Nickelodeon shows of SpongeBob, Dora and Yo Gabba Gabba, Beadles said she and her family have enjoyed watching home videos this past week.

“We may not stay with the service. I’m thinking of getting an antenna and just buying up some DVDs,” she added.

According to reports, nearly 20 million DirecTV subscribers have been without the 26 Viacom channels since Tuesday due to the two companies failing to reach a contract agreement over content fees.  

At this time the companies say they are still negotiating, however that doesn’t satisfy many of their customers.

Thomas Oliver said he was upset about losing his favorite channels — MTV, VH1 and BET.

“I’m especially upset for my nieces. When they came over, they enjoyed watching Nickelodeon. I called three times, and they said they would knock $10 off my bill,” said Oliver.

“I don’t like it. TV Land was my favorite channel,” said Harry Dixon.

Michael Turner of Halifax said he felt bad for his three kids who mostly watched the Nickelodeon channels.

“They watched Nickelodeon, and my favorite was MTV, Spike and VH1,” said Turner.

“I’ve called several times, and all I’ve got is automated messages saying they are in negotiations. I’ll have to stay with the service for now because I am still in contract with them,” he added.

Buffalo Junction resident Mary Terry who was spending time with her grandchildren, Madison Baker and Ryan Stone, said the loss of the channels hasn’t really affected her until now.

“The grandchildren are down for a few days, and they watch Nickelodeon,” said Terry.

“When will Nickelodeon come back?” young Baker asked.

Terry said although there aren’t many other choices than DirecTV, it’s a tough call on whether or not to stay with the service. 

She misses TV Land.

Jennifer Laughorn of South Boston, mother of two, is upset about the loss of channels for both of her kids.

“I’ve seen what they’re saying on TV, and I’ve been watching it on the news. My kids’ favorite channels are Nickelodeon, MTV and CMT,” she said. 

Her youngest daughter, Caroline, said she was “upset they took my channels — Nickelodeon and CMT.” 

“My favorite show was iCarly,” added Caroline.

A DirecTV customer since 2000, Doug Ford of South Boston is frustrated. His favorite channel was TV Land, it offered his favorite shows such as Andy Griffith and Leave it to Beaver.

“At this point I don’t see anything better. I don’t see going back to regular TV,” said Ford of his plans to stay with the service.

Negotiations continue between the two companies at this time. 

For more information, call DirecTV’s customer service number at 1-800-531-5000.