Viacom's Networks Return to DirecTV

Categories: 1-Featured,TV Business

Written By

July 20th, 2012

The 10 day impasse is over and DirecTV and Viacom reached an agreement to renew carriage of Viacom's channels.  It's six hour old news at this point, but still a big deal for fans and anti-fans of Viacom's channels' shows. 

Note: Thursday's numbers which we'll post this afternoon were still affected by the dispute but the numbers for Friday (which won't be posted until Monday) won't be.

via DirecTV:

DIRECTV and Viacom Reach Agreement for Return of Viacom’s 17 Channels Including Extensive New Digital Rights for DIRECTV Customers

EL SEGUNDO, Calif.--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.


DIRECTV (NASDAQ: DTV) is one of the world’s leading providers of digital television entertainment services delivering a premium video experience through state-of-the-art technology, unmatched programming and industry leading customer service to 33 million customers in the U.S. and Latin America. In the U.S., DIRECTV offers its 19.9 million customers access to more than 170 HD channels and Dolby-Digital® 5.1 theater-quality sound, access to exclusive sports programming such as NFL SUNDAY TICKET™, Emmy-award winning technology and higher customer satisfaction than the leading cable companies for 11 years running. DIRECTV Latin America, through its subsidiaries and affiliated companies in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Venezuela, Colombia, and other Latin American countries, leads the pay-TV category in technology, programming and service, delivering an unrivaled digital television experience to 12 million customers. DIRECTV sports and entertainment properties include three Regional Sports Networks (Northwest, Rocky Mountain and Pittsburgh) as well as a 60 percent interest in Game Show Network. For the most up-to-date information on DIRECTV, please visit

via Viacom:

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, 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.


  • disney rocks

    @JJ, I don’t think so

  • Moose

    @ NEK38583:

    That is absolutely not true, this issue does come up with cable companies. I can think of at least of a couple of situations where the programming had to be pulled from at least one cable company. Things were finally worked out and the programming was put back on, but there was an interruption of service.

    As for Viacom, I have no use for their channels. The amount of commercials that are shoved into TVLand programming is embarrassing. IMO, the network has become unwatachable.

  • Nadine

    @USAmerica1 — Take off the rose-colored glasses, sir. You could just as easily say everybody loses. Households with no kids lose. Political conservatives who would never support the liberal powerhouses Colbert & Jon Stewart, lose. People over 30 who wouldn’t watch MTV or VH1 if they were on a desert island with nothing else, lose. The consumer, overall, is not given any choice because of the oligopolistic nature of the industry. Furthermore, although I’d be willing to bet that Viacom was getting socked a heckuva lot harder than DirectTV, Viacom is a huge monopoly with much greater cash reserves, and was able to strong-arm a newer, weaker company — all to the greater detriment of you, the viewer. The market has been stangled, and you, sir, the consumer, are being treated like what you are: a sucker.

  • Tom

    @ Nadine Interesting comment. There’s an online article in CNN Money discussing this situation in some detail. The author’s conclusion is that controversies like this ultimately end up highlighting the fact that cable/satellite rates continue to rise at the same time that consumers expect them to be falling. As I mentioned in an earlier comment, DTV just raised rates for basic cable by 4% at a time when the economy is virtually in recession. While DTV showed a modest profit for the first quarter, it’s questionable if subscribers will be willing to keep shelling out for what’s become a predictable cycle of annual rate hikes. While Viacom has “made out” over the short haul, it’s questionable whether the public is going to continue shelling out to cover the additional fees that content providers are demanding. I tend to believe that the number of subscribers will soon be leveling off or even dropping. At that point, outfits like DTV and Viacom are going to have to drastically change their business models if they want to survive.

  • disney rocks

    Viacom’s ratings have lowered, so why would DirecTv pay them more money?

  • Nadine

    Well, that’s a good point, Tom. Ultimately, assuming any sort of freedom in the market (and my point is that this is very rigid market, and not all for bad reasons), consumers really will start showing their preferences with their feet. But as you know, this is not a neat and surgically precise operation. Because their choice is limited to provider and the rigid “plan” options the provider offers, and because their choice is pretty limited among providers, who are essentially forced to “collude” because of the contract demands made by networks to all of them, it will happen when people essentially start giving up on TV altogether. And of course, this is happening–which is why Viacom pulled this half-nelson in the first place.

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