Viacom and DirecTV Finally Reach Deal, Blackout Ends As Millions Get Their Channels Back
Viacom and DirecTV have made up. The cable programmer and the satellite broadcaster reached a deal on Friday after a nine-day standstill over a fee hike which led to blackouts.
While the media giants were duking it out, 20 million subscribers suffered, as popular channels such as MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and VH1 were yanked from the lineup, disrupting their viewing habits.
Viacom was seeking fees for its programming, which DirecTV viewed as too steep of an increase. DirecTV also claimed that Viacom was trying to force it to carry Epix, a pay movie channel.
During the blackout, Viacom saw ratings for many of its networks plummet, some by a 20 percent margin. The Disney Channel and other rival networks pounced, grabbing Nickelodeon viewers by the fistful.
Derek Chang, the executive vice president of DirecTV, expressed relief that the issue is now resolved. In a statement, he said, “We are very pleased to be able to restore the channels to our customers and thank them for their unprecedented patience and support. 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.”
He addressed how the blackout effected customers, saying, “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.”
Viacom also acknowledged the “unnecessary drama,” saying: “We are very pleased with our agreement and are very thankful to have reconnected with our DirecTV viewers.”
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.