Viacom/DirecTV Faceoff Takes Its Toll on Ratings

Competitors up as Viacom nets fall; still no carriage deal

The longer the Viacom/DirecTV dispute goes on without an agreement—and it's in its first full week now, which is a very long time for this sort of thing—the more likely it seems that nobody is going to walk away happy from the conflict, unless it's the Disney Channel. Two weeks ago (July 2-8), the Disney Channel brought in 1.83 million viewers in total day, while Nickelodeon nabbed 1.75 million. Last week (July 9-15)—four days of which had Nickelodeon dark in DirecTV's 20 million households—Disney grabbed 2.19 million in the same demo and timeslot, while Nick had 1.42 million. I'll do the math for you: that's 19 percent down for Nick, 19 percent up for Disney. 

In every other key demo (all total day), it was the same: 

Kids 6-to-11: 22 percent down for Nick; 21 percent up for Disney. 
Kids 2-to-11: 20 percent down for Nick; 21 percent up for Disney. 

It's probably not coincidence, either, that fledgling Discovery kids' cabler The Hub had its best week ever during the same time period; the network posted triple-digit gains over the previous year in kids 2-to-11, women 18-to-49 (The Hub pushes co-viewing to advertisers) and total viewers.

It's hard to tell what the eventual consequences are going to be for DirecTV, since there's no metric like the Nielsen ratings for that company's subscriber data, but it's not likely that they're seeing any subscription growth at the moment. 

Another important wrinkle today: here is what happens when you commandeer the two most popular political comedians on the country to take your side in a carriage dispute with DirecTV while simultaneously pulling their shows off the Internet to spite the MSO. "You’re pulling the shows from the Internet?" The Daily Show's Jon Stewart asked his employers on Monday night. "Viacom, what are you, China?"

That segment featured John Oliver recapping the first act of the show live to a couple who lose interest and start "discovering the power of human intimacy," much to the dismay of Jon & John. "You’ve got ad campaigns blaming people for taking the shows away, telling people to rise up and demand it, like it’s some kind of basic cable Arab Spring," Stewart scolded. "I’ve got news for you. It’s not. None of this matters. None of this is indispensable.” The shows are back online now, obviously.