DIRECTV and Viacom Settle Disputes, All Channels Restored

A little over a week ago, disputes between Viacom and DIRECTV led to Viacom cutting off service to 26 different channels, among them—to the great sadness of many DIRECTV customers—MTV, Nickelodeon, and Comedy Central.

The original dispute was over Viacom's renewal fees. DIRECTV claimed that Viacom was seeking a 30 percent bump in renewal subscriptions, which DIRECTV felt was too high. Viacom's stated that it was seeking only a fair bump in payment. Whatever the case, Viacom's channels were pulled from DIRECTV, with both parties pointing the finger of blame at each other.

A DIRECTV press release states that the two parties have reached an agreement.

Obviously, the two disputing parties still aren't done thumbing their noses at each other, as DIRECTV's press release stated the following:

“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.

“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.”

Interestingly, Viacom's press release regarding the dispute is much more neutral and brief. According to the media company, "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."

The press releases neglected to state the financials that went into the deal—in fact, DIRECTV's press release even directly stated, "Financial terms were not disclosed."—but according to the LA Times, Viacom now attributes for six percent of DIRECTV's programming costs, which is about $600 million this year.

Both companies lost out over the dispute as stock shares declined for both companies after the event. Viacom lost out on viewers and $14 million for ten days' worth of fees from DIRECTV. DIRECTV incited the ire of subscribers who weren't getting the channels they were promised and paying for.

Hopefully, with this dispute settled, AMC and Dish will be inspired to end their similar dispute.


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Catherine Cai is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Tom's Guide, Tom's Hardware, VG 24/7, RipTen, and The Game Fanatics. She has also worked as a lead producer for video game projects, a manager and lighting director for the stage, and a software engineer. Currently, she works as a Production Engineering Manager for Shopify.

  • jayracer7474
    i just signed up for dish network, meh

    24.99 a month lol
  • alidan
    so... did direct tv pay the 1.3 billion they were being asked? or did they tell viacom a less than 1 billion number for this bs?
  • kiniku
    Enjoy watching AMC on Dish. Not happening, and AMC lets everyone know that in their commercials too. Dish is junk compared to DirecTV.
  • BigBodZod
    I guess since I'm a Comcast user peeps are going to kill my post ;)

    I really think it's bad on all sides in this kind of dispute, now that Comcast is also on the Media Content side of things it makes it even more of a touchy subject.
  • alidan
    kinikuEnjoy watching AMC on Dish. Not happening, and AMC lets everyone know that in their commercials too. Dish is junk compared to DirecTV.
    both suck.
    here is my direct tv experience.
    awsome, what great quality... oh crap, one cloud in the sky, cant get a decent connection to save my life
    o crap its stormy today, may as well pick up a book
    well crap, winter is here... and i dont want to go outside to remove snow... well no tv today either.

    know what my cable is like? only time it was ever down in the last 4 years was when power goes out.
  • jdog2pt0
    Cable :D

    I miss having Brighthouse. Our current provider (we moved) is shit compared to them.
  • jaquith
    Well the settlement was much faster than I anticipated, and for the most part the kids are happy. I have Verizon FiOS, love it, and after Verizon canceled the Tennis channel for a long period we almost added, not replaced, the DirectTV just for the Tennis channel. So I can understand the driving force to settle than the extreme cost from millions jumping ship IF they had the option.

    The new receivers don't have the 'Storm Blackouts' problems with prior (older) dishes. I live in Florida and my friends had their DirectTV during our hurricanes. I still prefer FiOS. Anyone arguing 1080i vs 1080p is kidding themselves if they say they can 'see' the difference, HDTV and On Demand HD movies are great on FiOS. Further, I have 3 DVR's plus 3 HD boxes -- price that on DirectTV.
  • kinggraves
    Consumers need to support blackouts like this and put the blame on Viacom. An unjustified 30% hike in fees is absurd. The added expense will then be passed onto it's customers in the long run. Wonder why your cable bill keeps getting higher? I just hope other providers follow and tell Viacom and the other studios they aren't taking this railroading anymore, especially not with the garbage they put out.

    Really, which Viacom channels are we missing out on? The music channels that don't play music? The one that plays Rugrats reruns? Am I supposed to care if they're gone?
  • verbalizer
    I'm running Comcast / Xfinity TV and Internet, prices are indeed cray these days.
    that's my only complaint.
  • alidan
    iknowhowtofixitBy taking into account your statement, we can assume the following:-That your experience is based upon old information (i.e. you had DirecTV 10 years ago or more)-Or that your DirecTV dish was not aimed properly (which is often the case when people complain of outages during inclement weather)-Or where you live does not have a clear line of sight (i.e. trees in the way)As much as I dislike DirecTV as a company, they offer the best TV watching experience for people who care about picture quality. HD from most cable companies is a joke. Way too much compressed data, out of sync audio, only a handful of HD stations is the norm.Hey, its cool though. I'll enjoy my NFL Sunday Ticket in HD from DirecTV and you can watch one of the 2 broadcasted games in worse quality than you would get with digital HD over-the-air signal using your coveted cable signal. Well, that is if you exchange your cable box in time before the kiosk at the mall closes since it gets fried once a month for reasons the cable company cannot explain.
    more recently than 10 years ago, i know that, but it was at least 5.
    it probably was never set up right, but they wanted to charge us something allong the lines of 100-200$ to fix it, and only offering to do it for free when our contract was up and we were moveing back to cable.
    suburban area, clear line of sight to the sky no matter what direction i look. and thats from ground, this was mounted to our roof. and to make it even better, the only point in town that is a higher elevation than our home is the water tower. any forestry area with trees is well below out house for even the peaks of the trees.

    i want to point out that they did try to charge us for every little thing, and that is what drove us back to cable, was the customer service. it costs more, but not a a whole lot, but like i said, the only time cable goes out is because of a power out.

    and with our cable, i think we may get more channels in hd than we do sd... i dont have a box in my room to confirm that though. but for us, any football game that my dad cares about, the only one who watches sports in our home, its in hd...

    out tv is a 48inch plasma that is kind of crapping out, so we cant tell if its cable or the tv, but i would be the tv considering what the hd looks like on other tvs of ours, but o well.