Viacom, the cable television behemoth that owns 26 channels including Comedy Central, MTV and Nickelodeon, has released two prisoners of war in its the ongoing conflict with DirecTV.
Last week we reported on Viacom's decision to remove many of its popular programming options from the internet. "[Viacom] said it was acting in retaliation to a website put up by DirecTV urging customers to find Viacom programming from channels like Comedy Central, MTV and Nickelodeon online," the Wall Street Journal said on Thursday, July 12.
The media company reversed course today and made new episodes of Comedy Central's Daily Show and Colbert Report available online. The decision came in conjunction with the shows' return from a two-week summer hiatus.
"Despite reports last week that we had pulled all our full episode content from the web, we still have literally thousands of full episodes available online for free, and we brought The Daily Show and Colbert back online to coincide with their return with new episodes," Viacom's blog said. "We hope this is helpful to our fans with DIRECTV who have yet to switch to a cable/satellite provider that carries Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, MTV, BET and all our 26 networks."
Daily Show host John Stewart poked fun at Viacom and DirecTV on Monday night, calling the dispute a "basic cable Arab Spring." He went on to liken Viacom's decision to pull content from the internet to a move from China's communist government. The two companies were "just giving people a chance to discover there is other entertaining shit in the world. Shows, movies, board games, The Bible, masturbation" Stewart joked.
While the war rages on, Viacom is claiming victory in this particular battle. "It seems that the “Dump DIRECTV” movement is building. We saw a big spike in traffic to www.whendirectvdrops.com, and nearly half of those visitors used the zip code tracker to find other distributors. To those of you who have made the move — we thank you and are glad to have you back," Viacom's blog said.