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Viacom, DirecTV Reach Deal

20 Jul, 2012 By: Chris Tribbey

Following 10 days of very public dispute over carriage fees, Viacom channels were once again available to DirecTV’s customers July 20, thanks to an early morning agreement.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Viacom had been seeking a 30% increase in fees, which would equate to an extra $1 billion, according to DirecTV. As part of the overall agreement, DirecTV has an option to add the Epix pay-TV channel, which is co-owned by Paramount Pictures, Lionsgate and MGM.

The long-term agreement will also give DirecTV users access to Viacom channels via tablets, laptops and other TV Everywhere devices.

“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, EVP 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."

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