Talks between DirecTV and Viacom reach a stalemate

Posted by Shane McGlaun

Viacom recently forced DirecTV to pull about 17 different networks from the DirecTV satellite TV service, including the wildly popular Nickelodeon children's channel and Comedy Central.

According to DirecTV, Viacom refused to allow its networks to remain on the satellite service while negotiations were ongoing.

Talks between DirecTV and Viacom reach a stalemate

DirecTV also said the networks were pulled because it wouldn't agree to pay Viacom what amounted to an extra $1 billion in channel renewal fees and other costs.

Although talks continued even after the channels were pulled, it now seems as if negotiations have been halted.

"We’ve reached an impasse," Denise Denson, executive vice president of content distribution at New York-based Viacom, said yesterday in a phone interview. "They’re not negotiating productively. I don’t see any end to this blackout."

However, DirecTV insists that Viacom is misrepresenting the talks. In fact, DirecTV claims it had agreed on major points for a new fee agreement to restore the channels to DirecTV subscribers. According to DirecTV, the plan fell apart when Viacom demanded its movie channel Epix be included in the deal.

"Viacom insists that we carry the Epix channel at an additional cost of more than half a billion dollars,"DirecTV (DTV) (DTV) said in a statement. "We know our customers don’t want to pay such an extreme price for an extra channel, they simply want the ones they had returned to them."

Meanwhile, Denson said "[DirecTV]  spend 10 minutes a day negotiating the deal. That’s all the time they devote to this - it’s deny, delay, deceive."