Viacom and DirecTV finally reach new agreement as cable stations return

About 10 days after Viacom pulled 26 channels from DirecTV over a contract dispute, the two companies have finally come to an agreement that should have DirecTV fans in need of their MTV rejoicing.

About 10 days after Viacom pulled 26 channels from DirecTV over a contract dispute, the two companies have finally come to an agreement that should have DirecTV fans in need of their MTV rejoicing.

While precise details of the newly agreed upon contract weren't made pubilc, Bloomberg is reporting that the new contract is for 7 years with Viacom set to receive more than $600 million a year from DirecTV. That represents a 20% payment increase from the previous contract and is slightly below the 30% increase, or $1 billion, Viacom was initially pushing for.

Below, check out press releases from both DirecTV and Viacom. Oddly enough, there's a discrepancy between the two press releases as it relates to the number of channels added back. Viacom notes that 17 channels have been restored while Viacom claims that all 26 have been restored.

DirecTV's press release, which includes some jabs at Viacom, reads:

DIRECTV has reached a new long-term agreement with Viacom to restore 17 channels (including Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, MTV, BET, Spike, CMT, TV Land and ten other channels) that Viacom had taken away from DIRECTV customers on July 10. Viacom has returned all affected networks.

In addition to the channels' return, DIRECTV customers will also gain the ability to see Viacom programming on tablets, laptops, handhelds and other personal devices via the DIRECTV Everywhere platform. Carriage of the EPIX movie channel is not required as part of the new agreement.

"We are very pleased to be able to restore the channels to our customers and thank them for their unprecedented patience and support," said Derek Chang, executive vice president of Content Strategy and Development for DIRECTV. "It's unfortunate that Viacom took the channels away from customers to try to gain leverage, but in the end, it's clear our customers recognized that tactic for what it was."

Chang added, "The attention surrounding this unnecessary and ill-advised blackout by Viacom has accomplished one key thing: it serves notice to all media companies that bullying TV providers and their customers with blackouts won't get them a better deal. It's high time programmers ended these anti-consumer blackouts once and for all and prove our industry is about enabling people to connect to their favorite programs rather than denying them access."

The dispute helped generate significant public support from hundreds of thousands of customers and also, surprisingly enough, many high-profile DIRECTV competitors. The 850 small and independently owned local cable systems that make up the American Cable Association joined the anti-blackout chorus, as did Cox Communications, Time Warner Cable and Mediacom.

Meanwhile, Viacom's press release reads:

Viacom today announced that the company has reached a long-term agreement to renew carriage with DIRECTV.

All 26 Viacom networks, including Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, MTV, BET, CMT, Logo, Spike, TV Land, MTV2, VH1, VH1 Classic, Palladia, Nick Jr., Nicktoons, TeenNick, Tr3s and Centric, will return to DIRECTV’s channel lineup immediately. As part of the overall carriage agreement, DIRECTV has an option to add the EPIX service to its entertainment offerings.

Viacom is extremely pleased to bring its programming back to DIRECTV subscribers, and thanks everyone affected by the disruption for their patience and understanding during this challenging period.

So all's well that ends well for DirecTV subscribers.

Unfortunately, the same can't be said for DISH subscribers. Recall that Dish remains in a contract dispute with AMC, which is not a channel you want to be without given that Season 5 of Breaking Bad just premeired last week.


Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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