Viacom, DirecTV Reach New Carriage Deal

3:08 AM PST 07/20/2012 by Georg Szalai

UPDATED: The companies end a two-week blackout in DirecTV homes, with the satellite TV giant saying it won't have to carry premium TV venture network Epix under the seven-year pact.

Viacom and DirecTV have reached a new carriage agreement, they said early Friday. 

The deal ends a two-week standoff that led to a blackout of such networks as MTV, Comedy Central, BET and Nickelodeon in the about 20 million homes of the satellite TV giant.

Financial and other terms weren't disclosed, but sources said the deal will run for seven years.

DirecTV will carry all 26 Viacom channels, or 17 when excluding HD feeds, but said it is not required to carry Epix, the premium TV joint venture of Viacom, Lionsgate and MGM. 

"In addition to the channels' return, DirecTV customers will also gain the ability to see Viacom programming on tablets, laptops, handhelds and other personal devices via the DirecTV Everywhere platform," the satellite TV company said. "Carriage of the Epix movie channel is not required as part of the new agreement."

Viacom said it "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."

Said Derek Chang, executive vp of content strategy and development for DirecTV: "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 added: "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."

E-mail: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai

 

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