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DIRECTV & Viacom Strike Deal

By Swanni 

Washington, D.C. (July 20, 2012) --DIRECTV and Viacom have signed a new long term deal that will return Viacom's 26 channels to the satcaster's lineup, the companies announced this morning.

The fee fight forced DIRECTV 10 days ago to remove the 26 Viacom channels when the two companies could not reach a new programming pact. (The channels affected included: all MTV channels, Comedy Central, all Nickelodeon channels, BET, Spike, all VH1 channels, TVLand, Logo, CMT and Palladia.)

But Viacom and DIRECTV issued separate press releases this morning saying a new agreement has been reached. Financial terms were not disclosed.

"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," Viacom said in its statement.

"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."

DIRECTV had contended that Viacom was requiring that the premium movie channel, EPIX, be part of the carriage deal. But the satcaster said today that it will not carry EPIX as part of the agreement.

DIRECTV's statement, however, reflected the bitterness that was created by the standoff.

"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," said Chang.

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