Potential Viacom & DirecTV Deal Stalls Over EPIX

(Ping! Zine Web Tech Magazine) – If you’re a DirecTV customer holding out hope that much beloved Viacom-owned TV stations including Comedy Central will soon return to your television screen, you just might have to wait a bit longer.

Progress on a potential deal appears to have stalled with Viacom most recently accusing DirecTV of not cooperating in the matter. “In sharp contrast to DIRECTV’s public spin, it’s now clear that they have no intention of working with us to expedite a resolution and return our 26 networks to DIRECTV subscribers,” commented Viacom via its blog yesterday.

At the center of the holdup is Viacom’s wish to have movie channel Epix included in DirecTV’s network programming, a move DirecTV insists would cost over half a billion.

The satellite provider has also pushed back against Viacom’s claim on non-cooperation, saying it was “intended for dramatic effect” and “completely false.” “Please know that we are indeed continuing to negotiate with Viacom so they can return the channels to our customers as soon as possible,” stated DirecTV.

Viacom recently pulled its programming from the satellite provider after the two sides reached  a stalemate in contract negotiations. That followed Viacom’s insistence that DirecTV increase payment rates for its programming. Such channels include VH1, Netflix, Nickelodeon, CMT, Comedy Central, Spike, BET and more.

DirecTV CEO Mike White has defended his company in the talks by maintaining the rate increase would hit customers with “an extra billion dollars for the exact same channels” they currently get. Meanwhile, Viacom has contended that its demand is fair.

“We proposed a fair deal that amounted to an increase of only a couple pennies per day, per subscriber, and we remained willing to negotiate that deal right up to this evening’s deadline,” Viacom commented earlier in the negotiation process. Meanwhile, it remains to be seen when the two sides will finally hash out some truce.