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DIRECTV & Versus Reach a Deal -- But Why Now?

Washington, D.C. (March 15, 2010) -- DIRECTV has reached a new carriage agreement with Versus that will allow the satcaster to return the Comcast-owned sports channel to the air no later than 7 p.m. ET tonight.

Update: Both the SD and HD signals for Versus are back on the air as of 5:20 p.m. ET.

DIRECTV said Versus will be in the same programming package that it was in when it was forced off the air at the end of August 2009 when the sports channel and DIRECTV could not reach a new carriage deal.

The satcaster and Versus would not disclose the terms of the new agreement.

We are pleased that both sides were able to work out a satisfactory deal to bring this programming back to our customers." said DIRECTV's Derek Chang.

Read Swanni's commentary below.


Swanni's Take:
DIRECTV had wanted to include Versus in a more exclusive sports package that would have meant fewer viewers -- and possibly less money -- for the sports channel.

But DIRECTV's announcement that Versus will stay in the same programming package suggests that the satcaster gave up on its demand. The satcaster was under tremendous pressure to return Versus to the air, particularly now with the NHL playoffs starting next month.

Versus has the rights to broadcast both NHL regular season and playoff games.

While it's possible that DIRECTV gave Versus less money per viewer in this new deal, it's more likely that the satcaster blinked, fearful that more subscribers would switch to a TV provider that carried Versus and the NHL playoffs.

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Phillip Swann is president and publisher of TVPredictions.com. He has been quoted in dozens of publications and broadcast outlets, including CNN, Fox News, Inside Edition, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Financial Times, The Associated Press and The Hollywood Reporter. He can be reached at swann@tvpredictions.com or at 703-505-3064.

Click TVPredictions.com to read more news and features on TV technology. 

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