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.