After a week or so of increasingly contentious negotiations Viacom and DirecTV have come to some sort of agreement, returning the missing channels to satellite TV subscribers as of... now. Naturally, each side is sticking to its guns, and even with a long term deal inked they still disagree on the number of channels involved.
So who won? The exact financial numbers have not been revealed, but you can check out the dueling press releases after the break. The contested Epix package is an option (but not a requirement) for DirecTV, while the satellite broadcaster is happily adding access to Viacom content on mobiles, PCs and "other media devices" as a part of its DirecTV Everywhere service. Thanks to support from other pay TV providers, DirecTV is taking the more aggressive position, but we'll wait for the inevitable "people in a position to know" to chime in with some dollars and cents figures before calling a victor.
Update: As expected, Bloomberg reports "people with direct knowledge" claim the new agreement is another seven year contract priced at more than $600 million per year, about 20 percent more than what Viacom was getting before. At least one analyst called it a win for both sides -- we'll see how subscribers fared if (when) there's a rate hike any time soon.
DIRECTV and Viacom Reach Agreement to Renew Carriage of Viacom's Networks
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,
to Return to DIRECTV Immediately
New York, NY – July 20, 2012 -Viacom (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB) 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.
DIRECTV and Viacom Reach Agreement for Return of Viacom's 17 Channels Including Extensive New Digital Rights for DIRECTV Customers
EL SEGUNDO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- 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.
Financial terms were not disclosed.
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.