Sponge Bob Returns to Satellite: DirecTV & Viacom Settle Spat

(Ping! Zine Web Tech Magazine) – DirecTV customers can now stop frantically using other means to access favorite programming from Viacom-owned channels including Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, VH1, CMT and more. On Friday, the two sides finally reached an agreement following a spat that saw Viacom temporarily pull its stations from the popular satellite provider.

The two sides had clashed over Viacom’s desire to increase fee rates on its programming. DirecTV maintained it would equal at 30% cost raise, hitting customers with what DirecTV CEO Mike White said was “an extra billion dollars for the exact same channels you already receive.”

Viacom had defended its side of the dispute, saying it had initially offered DirecTV a “fair deal” where the rate increase would be minimal.

Interestingly enough, financial terms of the new agreement were not made apparent be press statements from either side. Most recently, the delay in getting a new deal done was blamed on Viacom’s insistence that DirecTV include movie channel EPIX in its programming, something DirecTV also said would increase customer rates. However, now that new terms have been agreed upon, EPIX is optional to the satellite provider’s customers.

An upside to the new deal apparently allows customers to access Viacom program via mobile devices. “We are very pleased to be able to restore the channels to our customers and thank them for their unprecedented patience and support,” commented DirecTV executive VP of Content Strategy and Development Derek Chang. Viacom also expressed pleasure in getting the deal done and thanked subscribers for their patience.

Both companies remained openly hostile against one another throughout the blackout, at times openly accusing the other of non-cooperation. Viacom went so far as to ask that DirecTV customers consider switching to other carriers.