DirecTV vs Viacom dispute worsens

It seems that the carriage fee arguments between Viacom and satellite platform DirecTV is as far away from a settlement as ever. Viacom, in an online blog, said “it is now clear that [DirecTV] have no intention of working with us to expedite a resolution. DirecTV has moved backwards significantly and created more obstacles in reaching an agreement.”

DirecTV responded by saying that Viacom’s blogged statement was “completely inaccurate” and that it had tabled an increase in Viacom’s carriage fees covering the 17 dropped channels. Viacom said they would immediately restore the dropped channels, which included MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central at any time.

DirecTV has also let it be known that Viacom is pushing to add a channel to its overall line-up, the EPIX network. Viacom states that adding this channel, plus the increase in overall fees, would represent an increase of more than “half a billion dollars”.

Independent analysis of the numbers suggests that DirecTV is currently paying around $2.25 per sub/month for the Viacom bouquet. This is “significantly less” that the amount Viacom charges other distributors, according to Nomura analyst Michael Nathanson.

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