DirecTV and Viacom can't agree on how far apart they are in the dispute keeping Nickeloden, MTV, Comedy Central and other Viacom stations from DirecTV customers.
In a statement Wednesday, Viacom said DirecTV refused to come to an agreement. But DirecTV says Viacom is holding up a potential deal by demanding DirecTV "carry the EPIX channel at an additional cost of more than half a billion dollars."
Viacom representatives told TheWrap that Viacom had not really agreed to carry the channels, and that the two sides were not even close to a deal.
"In sharp contrast to DirecTV's public spin, it's now clear that they have no intention of working with us to expedite a resolution," Viacom said in a blog post.
DirecTV, meanwhile, said Viacom's "current statement on our negotiations is completely inaccurate."
DirecTV said Viacom made a proposal Tuesday night that would have returned the channels that are being denied DirecTV's 20 million customers, and that DirecTV "accepted all material terms for those channels including an increase that was more than fair."
DirecTV pointedly added: "We are ready to close this deal at any time and restore those channels to our customers."
Viacom held up the deal, however, by insisting "that we carry the EPIX channel at an additional cost of more than half a billion dollars," according to DirecTV.
Viacom, meanwhile, said it made a "significant and comprehensive compromise proposal" to DirecTV on Thursday that could have restored the channels by Friday. "Unfortunately, DIRECTV has moved backwards significantly and created more obstacles to reaching an agreement," Viacom said.
The dueling takes on reality come a day after what appeared to be a possible olive branch by Viacom: It began posting online clips of the Comedy Central shows "The Daily Show" and "Colbert Report" that it took down last week when DirecTV stopped airing Viacom channels.
The decision to take down the clips seemed like a technique to pressure DirecTV by denying fans of the shows an online means of getting their comedy fix. That might have driven them to contact DirecTV and complain, as Viacom has urged customers to do.
Though DirecTV applauded Viacom's move to restore the clips on line, the brief moment of good feelings seems to be over.
The dispute has arisen over Viacom's demand for an increase in the fees it receives from DirecTV. DirecTV said Viacom is seeking a 30 percent increase -- equaling more than a billion dollars that would be passed on to customers. Viacom argues the fee increases would come to "pennies a day."
More to come. Here are the latest statements from both companies:
We made a significant and comprehensive compromise proposal to DIRECTV last Thursday that could have resulted in restoring all of our services to DIRECTV subscribers by Friday morning. We have since made several additional compromise proposals – even as recently as last night – to find a resolution acceptable to DIRECTV.
Unfortunately, DIRECTV has moved backwards significantly and created more obstacles to reaching an agreement.
Rather than fulfill its promise to subscribers for a quick resolution of this negotiation, it now appears that DIRECTV will continue to purposefully and indefinitely deprive its subscribers of MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, BET, TV Land, VH1, Spike, CMT and 18 other Viacom channels.
We sympathize with frustrated DIRECTV customers and hope that they will take advantage of the services of the many alternate distributors throughout the U.S. that continue to make Viacom's popular networks available.
Viacom's current statement on our negotiations is completely inaccurate. They made a proposal last night for our carriage of the 17 channels they pulled from DIRECTV and we accepted all material terms for those channels including an increase that was more than fair. We are ready to close this deal at any time and restore those channels to our customers. However, as part of that offer, Viacom insists that we carry the EPIX channel at an additional cost of more than half a billion dollars.
We know our customers don't want to pay such an extreme price for an extra channel, they simply want the ones they had returned to them. We stand ready and willing to work with Viacom to get this done and, once again, ask Viacom to do the right thing and restore these channels to our customers immediately.