What had started as a dispute in negotiations has officially turned into the ban of all Viacom properties, including MTV, MTV 2, Spike TV, VH1, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon and more. Most notably to MMA fans is MTV 2 and Spike TV as they have been the source of Bellator events, MMA Uncensored Live, and repeats of UFC programming from the past years.
The issue arises from Viacom requesting an increased pay of 30% on their new contract, which would amount to 1 billion dollars. The media giant claims to hold the biggest share of viewers at 20% of all DirecTV customers. Viacom reports that they only currently receive payment for 5% of that pie. However, According to Wall Street Journal, Viacom has been on the decline for some time as they like many other channels fall victim to streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. Assumption is that they are likely looking to make a hail mary attempt to cash out during the media transition, which analyst are predicting will not work.
With Bellator’s huge loss of distribution through their new partners at Viacom, the growing promotion will likely need to take refuge on a new platform quickly, should DirecTV and Viacom not come to terms. The group has already started its transition with free streaming online of events, but the question is that enough to keep the young organization alive?