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DirecTV, Viacom make up: 17 channels restored

After more than a week of failed negotiations, television giants Viacom and DirecTV agree to restore 17 channels for the satellite service provider's customers.

Zack Whittaker Writer-editor
Zack Whittaker is a former security editor for CNET's sister site ZDNet.
Zack Whittaker
2 min read

After more than a week of failed negotiations that led to a service cut-off, television giants DirecTV and Viacom have reached a new agreement that will restore many of the media conglomerate's popular television channels to the satellite service provider's 20 million U.S. customers.

The agreement, described as "long-term," will see 17 television channels -- including Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, MTV, BET and Spike, among others -- restored. Viacom cut service for the channels on July 10.

"We are very pleased to be able to restore the channels to our customers and thank them for their unprecedented patience and support," said DirecTV executive Derek Chang. "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."

The dispute erupted earlier this month when failed talks led to Viacom cutting service to 26 channels, including those noted above. Service outages are typically used as last-ditch tools by media companies to increase leverage when negotiations over the price of their content stall.

(A majority of Viacom is owned by National Amusements, which also holds a controlling stake in CBS, CNET's parent company.)

At the time, Viacom said it had "proposed a fair deal that amounted to an increase of only a couple pennies per day, per subscriber," and that "DirecTV refused to engage in meaningful conversation." DirecTV said that Viacom was looking for a 30 percent increase in royalties -- or around $1 billion. But the companies couldn't find common ground.

Various outlets reported earlier this week that the two companies were working on another deal to restore service, no doubt spurred to action by irate DirecTV customers.

Under the new agreement, DirecTV customers will have the ability to see Viacom programming on tablets, laptops and mobile devices via the company's Everywhere platform.

Although financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed, an unnamed source told Bloomberg that Viacom will get more than $600 million a year from DirecTV in a seven-year agreement, an increase of up to at least 20 percent from previous terms.

Update, 9:44 a.m. PT: Updated with more settlement information.