Dear, DirecTV subscribers: You no longer need to switch cable providers to watch your favorite Comedy Central, MTV, and Nickelodeon shows. Today Viacom and DirecTV made peace and struck a deal.
You may remember the two companies have been fighting over how much DirecTV would pay Viacom for their channels. Before today’s deal, Viacom received about $500 million in payment from DirecTV. The cable provider spends around $10 billion a year on its programming, Viacom complained that its payment only represented 5 percent of those costs and demanded an increase.
The new deal reportedly has Viacom earning 6 percent of those costs, which is about a $100 to $600 million dollar gain. DirecTV claimed Viacom was demanding more than a billion dollar increase in payment. The new agreement is said to be “long term,” but other than that no specific details have been released to the public. Viacom and DirecTV’s last agreement lasted for seven years.
The new agreement also allows viewers to watch Viacom shows on computers, phones, and other devices. Free streaming was previously a point of dispute between the two companies with some distributors saying that streaming of shows online undermines the cable television business model.
Epix, a movie and entertainment service co-owned by Viacom is not required to be carried by DirecTV in the new deal. DirecTV claimed Viacom asked for more than $500 million to carry Epix. Although Epix — who will air new specials from Lewis Black, Eddie Griffin and Jim Jefferies — won’t be required in the package, it will be an option subscribers can choose to add on to their cable service.
Viacom’s seems pleased with the deal but Derek Chang, executive vice president at DirecTV is still clearly annoyed, as is evidenced in his statement below:
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.
Ok, DirecTV comedy fans. Now that all is well with the world, make sure you tune in to the series premiere of John Oliver’s New York Stand Up Show tonight and Todd Barry’s stand-up special Super Crazy tomorrow– both on Comedy Central.