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Viacom, DirecTV Settle Licensing Spat, Shows Return
SpongeBob and Jon Stewart returned to DirecTV last night after Viacom and DirecTV settled their licensing spat.
Viacom and DirecTV settled their differences last night and restored 17 Viacom-owned channels to DirecTV’s lineup.
DirecTV customers once again have access to Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, MTV, BET, Spike, CMT, TV Land, and more. Those channels went dark more than a week ago after a licensing spat prompted Viacom to shut down access to DirecTV customers.
The deal also restores access to Viacom content on tablets, laptops, and other mobile gadgets, but does not include the EPIX movie channel.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“We are very pleased to be able to restore the channels to our customers and thank them for their unprecedented patience and support,” Derek Chang, executive vice president of content strategy and development for DirecTV, said in a statement. “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 accused Viacom of “bullying” DirecTV in an effort to get more money for its programming. “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,” he said.
Viacom was more tight-lipped, saying it was “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.”
At the root of the problem were the fees that cable providers pay content companies for the rights to broadcast their shows. Viacom wanted DirecTV to pay more, but DirecTV said Viacom was asking for too much. As is usually the case in these situations, both companies set up websites with their sides of the story, begging consumers to help stop the madness, but in reality, there was little that the average person could do to return Viacom to DirecTV since it was all a business-related money issue. These battles now seem to occur every few months and have involved everyone from Time Warner Cable and Cablevision to ABC and Fox.
By Chloe Albanesius, PCMag