After a nine-day standoff with DirecTV, all 26 Viacom channels have returned to the satellite provider, according to announcements from DirecTV and Viacom. DirecTV subscribers will also now be able to watch Viacom programming over the Internet, through the DirecTV Everywhere service. DirecTV will now also have the option to add movie streaming service EPIX to its lineup.
The financial details of the deal have not yet been announced. But who cares? “The Daily Show” and “SpongeBob SquarePants” are back!
Update: Viacom will reportedly receive about $600 million a year from DirecTV to carry the channels, according to Bloomberg. This represents a 20 percent jump over the companies’ previous licensing agreement.
The list of restored channels includes: Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, BET, VH1, CMT, Logo, Spike, TV Land, MTV2, VH1 Classic, Palladia, Nick Jr., NickToons, TeenNick, Nickelodeon West, Tr3s, Centric, MTV India, Nickelodeon HD, Comedy Central HD, MTV HD, BET HD, VH1 HD, CMT HD and Spike HD.
On July 10, just before midnight, DirecTV customers lost access to these channels over a licensing dispute between the two companies. DirecTV wanted to pick and choose which Viacom channels to carry, saying that some channels no longer had enough viewership to justify the price in carrying them. The satellite provider also had issue with the fact that Viacom offered some shows for free via its website. Viacom, on the other hand, only wanted DirecTV to carry its full stable of channels, and was charing DirecTV about $1 billion more to do so.
Viacom later pulled full episodes of “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report” as part of its efforts to force the deal. The company restored the episodes after “The Daily Show” host Jon Stewart lambasted his employer on-air, though it is not clear whether that was the reason for the shows’ restoration.
“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,” said Derek Chang, executive vice president of content for DirecTV, in a statement. “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.”
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