DirecTV Customers Get SpongeBob Back as Viacom Spat Is Settled

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SpongeBob

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- DirectTV subscribers who want their MTV, SpongeBob SquarePants or comedian Jon Stewart are getting their wish.

Viacom and the satellite TV service provider said Friday that they have settled a dispute that had cut off access to 17 Viacom channels for DirectTV subscribers. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Channels such as MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon had been inaccessible to some 20 million DirecTV customers since July 10 as the two companies haggled over how much DirecTV should pay to carry those channels.

A day later Viacom also shut off access to full-length episodes on its own websites such as MTV.com and ComedyCentral.com to all visitors, even those who had no stake in the dispute. That was apparently in response to DirecTV telling its U.S. subscribers where they could find programs on the Internet that they could no longer watch on TV.

With viewers frustrated by the lack of accessibility, Viacom decided on Tuesday to let new episodes of "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" and "The Colbert Report" be shown on its websites, easing the blockade of online viewings that it imposed last week. The move came a day after both shows resumed new episodes following a two-week hiatus.

As part of the new long-term deal, DirecTV Group Inc. subscribers will also be able to see Viacom shows on tablets, laptops and other devices using DirecTV's Everywhere platform.

While the two companies have struck a deal, DirecTV made it clear that it was not happy with what had transpired.

"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 for DirecTV, said in a statement.

DirecTV said that while the dispute with Viacom was going on it received support from not only customers, but competitors as well. The satellite television provider said that 850 small and independently owned local cable systems that make up the American Cable Association were opposed to Viacom's actions, as were Cox Communications, Time Warner Cable and Mediacom.

Viacom said in a statement that it was extremely pleased to be bringing its shows back to DirecTV customers and thanked everyone affected by the dispute "for their patience and understanding during this challenging period."

DirecTV has 33 million customers in the U.S. and Latin America, with about 20 million of those in the U.S.


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113 Comments

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greenfinpopfish2

I rue the day I chose Directv as my satelite provider. They are the greediest corporation I have encountered, from the CEO, all the way down to the service techs that come out and install your equiptment ....especially the sub-contractors.

July 23 2012 at 1:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
pm0501

Eventually DTV and Dish Network will be a thing of the past. Someday the honeymoon will be over and they'll be begging for subscribers!

July 23 2012 at 11:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rw302361

now maybe thiier sponcer's should boycott vicom they proved the don't care about their veiwers

July 22 2012 at 9:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Cathy

i'm so glad the shows are back on, our grandkids didn't have any of their shows to watch when they came over,which is quite often. but i think we should have something taken off our bill while they were off. it's bad enough they raised our bill.we had to have some of our channels taken off so we could afford it.thanks for giving us the opportunity to speak our peace.

July 22 2012 at 9:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
harolddundee

They could have kept Stewart and Colbert both.

July 22 2012 at 9:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jmkjr72

you know whats funny pay tv came about as a way to aviod comercials
yet today there are more comrecials on the tv channels that you have to pay for
so now you are paying more for less and the pay tv stations are makeing money on both ends

July 22 2012 at 8:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rob

Never watch the Viacom channels. Nothing but junk on them. I wish Direct TV had told Viacom to take a hike!

July 22 2012 at 8:37 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Andi

VIACOM IS NOTHING BUT A BUNCH OF GREEDY LIARS. THANKS DIRECTV, FOR KICKING THEIR BUTTS PUBLICLY!

July 22 2012 at 8:05 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
prairiecal

Good News for Direct TV Customers would be to get back some of the money they were cheated out of when the crummy Dish Service they received never worked. Good news would be winning the class action suit against the ethically bankrupt money grubbers running this companyt, who routinely take money ouf of peoples accounts for early cancelation fees when their equiment never worked. This is one of the most disgusting companies in America today.

July 22 2012 at 7:10 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to prairiecal's comment
Andi

IDIOT... DIRECTV AND DISH ARE TWO SEPERATE THINGS. DISH IS THE ONE WHO SUCKS YOUR MONEY AND DOESN'T GIVE YOU HALF OF WHAT DIRECTV DOES!

July 22 2012 at 8:06 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
janka51

viacom channels are nothing but junk, why did directv even bother with them , I am switching to cable now.

July 22 2012 at 6:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply