Advanced Television

Viacom and DirecTV settle

July 20, 2012

Viacom and DirecTV have reached an agreement, ending a week-long black out of channels including Nickelodeon, MTV and Comedy Central to DirecTV subscribers.

Financial terms were not disclosed, but DirecTV said the resolution showed that programmers who try to bully distributors with blackouts won’t get better deals.

DirecTV says the agreement will enable its 20 million subscribers to see Viacom shows on tablets, laptops, and other devices on its DirecTV Everywhere platform.  It added that carriage of the Epix movie service  – a joint venture of Viacom and several movie studios, and a sticking point – is not required. Viacom said DirecTV has an option to add the Epix service to its entertainment offerings.

“We are very pleased to be able to restore the channels to our customers and thank them for their unprecedented patience and support,” Derek Chang, executive VP of content strategy and development for DirecTV, said in a statement. “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 recognised that tactic for what it was.”

Chang added that “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.”

In its brief release, Viacom said it was “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.”

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