Viacom is cutting back, at least temporarily, on the number of episodes of TV shows that it offers for free online from its cable networks, including MTV and Comedy Central.
The move comes after satellite broadcaster DirecTV stopped carrying Viacom’s cable channels Tuesday night. One of DirecTV’s issues with Viacom is the amount of content the cable programmer puts online for free. DirecTV and other distributors fear that giving programs away online undermines the pay-TV business model.
Although Viacom did not announce a formal policy change, visitors to the Comedy Central website looking to watch "The Daily Show” or "The Colbert Report" were met with a message saying, “Full episodes are currently unavailable. We apologize for the inconvenience.”
However, fans of MTV’s “Snooki & JWoww” can still watch episodes of that show for free.
Viacom spokeswoman Carole Robinson said the company has “temporarily slimmed down our offerings” as a result of its fight with DirecTV. She added that “hundreds (maybe more) of long-form episodes remain online, for free.”
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