Peace: DirecTV, MTV Parent Viacom End Squabble

By FOXBusiness

DirecTV, Viacom End Feud

FBN’s Dennis Kneale on the resolution of the feud between DirecTV and Viacom.

DirecTV (NYSE:DTV) reached a peace settlement on Friday with media giant Viacom (NASDAQ:VIAB), returning Comedy Central, MTV and 15 other channels to some 20 million U.S. subscribers.

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The pact to restore carriage of Viacom’s networks ends a stalemate that caused DirecTV customers to lose access on July 10 to shows like “The Daily Show.”

The two sides released few details about the agreement, but said the networks are returning immediately to DirecTv’s channel lineup.

They also said DirecTV subscribers now have the option to add the EPIX movie channel to their service and can now watch Viacom programming on tablets, laptops and other portable devices.

Viacom is run by Sumner Redstone and includes a wide range of networks, including Nickelodeon, BET, Spike and VH1. With about 20 million subscribers, DirecTV is the No. 2 U.S. pay-television operator.

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Despite the resolution, DirecTV remained critical of Viacom over the impasse.

“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,” Derek Chang, executive vice president of content strategy and development at 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 said.

On the other hand, New York-based Viacom took a less harsh tone.

“Viacom 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,” Viacom said in a separate tatement.

Shares of Viacom jumped 1.39% to $47.29 Friday morning, while DirecTV slipped 0.39% to $48.75.