‘Futurama’, ‘Dora the Explorer’, et al Return, DirecTV and Viacom Settle Dispute

Good news for DirecTV customers who have been paying for over two dozen blacked-out channels for the last week or so (seriously DirectTV, can we get some money back on our next bill for that mess?): Viacom and DirecTV have settled their dispute, and Viacom has restored 17 of the 26 channels it blocked when a distribution deal between the two companies expired and new terms couldn’t be reached.

It’s not clear what the financials of the new deal are--neither company disclosed them--but a Bloomberg report has it pegged at $600 million. Previously, DirecTV said that Viacom wanted a cool billion, so the former is getting a great deal.

Fry not sure meme

Even so, it doesn’t appear that the two sides are done fighting; even their respective press releases announcing the agreement differ in detail and tone. For example, DirecTV says that Viacom has restored 17 channels, including Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, MTV, BET, Spike, CMT, and TV Land, while Viacom says it brought back all 26.

Further, executive VP of Content Strategy and Development for DirecTV Derek Chang positively crowed in the press release:

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.

Alas, this sounds like a temporary peace to us, but at least people can watch some of their favorite shows again.
Tags:  DirecTV, viacom, Misc