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Viacom tumbles after announcing a power outage on DirecTV

Viacom Inc., owner of the cable networks, including Nickelodeon and MTV, lost up to 4.7% after warning that AT & T pay television customers could lose access his films and television shows unless the companies reach a new programming agreement.

Shares fell 4.5% to $ 26.27 in New York after falling to $ 26.23. AT & T, the owner of DirecTV, lost up to 0.9%. It is the largest pay-TV provider in the United States with 24.5 million customers.

The current contract between the parties will expire on Friday, Viacom said Tuesday in an email. The media company has begun to activate an "analytic" message on its networks, alerting customers of the imminent dispute.

Price disputes between media companies and owners of pay-TV systems explain the pressure from both sides to make more money from an increasingly smaller pool of cable and cable customers. of the satellite. Programmers like Viacom rely on advertising revenues and subscription fees to pay for TV shows and movies that they broadcast. Owners of pay TV systems such as AT & T are losing their customers to the benefit of cheaper options such as Netflix Inc.

Viacom, which is also the owner of Comedy Central and BET, has announced to AT & T a series of offers that will allow it to reduce its customers' bills. The New York-based media company has accused AT & T of using its new position in the market, as the owner of Time Warner, to promote its own content.

"AT & T continues to insist on extreme and unreasonable conditions, totally incompatible with the market," said Bob Bakish, chief executive of Viacom, in a memo addressed to employees. "Having recently acquired Time Warner, AT & T seems to want to use its new power on the market to prioritize its own content to the detriment of consumers, who are increasingly unhappy with paying more for less."

In its response, AT & T called Viacom a "bad actor" in negotiations with pay-TV companies.

"The facts speak for themselves: many Viacom channels are no longer popular," said AT & T in an email. "In total, Viacom channels have lost about 40% of their audience in the last six years."

In April, AT & T will increase the prices of its pay-TV streaming service. The company raised prices for its satellite television service in January.

The phone giant finalized the purchase of Time Warner last year and won last month a final victory over the efforts of the US Department of Justice to terminate the transaction for antitrust reasons. Since then, AT & T has begun reorganizing its business, which includes Warner Bros. Studios, HBO and Turner Broadcasting. The division, which operates networks competing with Viacom, has been renamed WarnerMedia.

Viacom was one of several media companies that collapsed on March 13, after the AT & T announcement that would remove channels from a remodeled DirecTV Now streaming service.

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