Even though DirecTV and Viacom have made a truce and some 20 million customers will finally get to watch The Daily Show, DirecTV Executive Vice President Derek Chang wants you to remember one thing: this was all Viacom's fault. "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," said Chang in a statement picked up by The Next Web. He adds, "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." Having read our fair share of press releases made from rainbows, smiles, and candy, Chang's saucy tone is a bit of a departure (for example, check out Viacom's release which notes their extreme pleasure in bringing its programming back and no mention of their bending to Chang and DirecTV's will). The intricacies of the deal haven't been announced, but on July 11 PaidContent's Staci Kramer did report on the money issues which caused this dispute:
If the new contract runs as long as the one that just ended after seven years, the bill would be a little over the $1 billion DirecTV claims Viacom wants; Viacom says DirecTV’s claim that it’s looking for a 30 percent increase is too high but insists its been underpaid for the networks as they increased in value to DirecTV.
With the way Chang is boasting, we imagine the deal swung in DirecTV's favor. But back to Chang's claims and the bigger picture of distributor versus programmer. Deadline's David Lieberman reports Viacom came on the losing end of this 10-day contract dispute. "Its shares fell 2% over the period. Live, full day ratings in the target demos for its channels were down 27% in the week that ended July vs the same week last year – the previous week, before the loss of DirecTV, they were -14%." wrote Davidson. Though Davidson adds that the fight didn't drag out long enough to see if DirecTV would've eventually suffered. All that said, if you are a DirectTV subscriber, you should already have access to Viacom's 26 channels now (Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, MTV, Spike etc.), as service was reportedly restored shortly after the dueling announcements.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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