Viacom-DirecTV deal ends blackout

MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon restored

The damage from the blackout to both sides was real but not permanent.

DirecTV spokesman Darris Gringeri said the company lost subscribers because of the dispute, “but against our subscriber base, it was not a significant number.”

Viacom lost out on 10 days’ worth of fees from DirecTV — roughly $14 million — and took a short-term audience hit that will cost the company advertising revenue.

Both sides suffered brand damage — Viacom because it was tagged for being a root cause of rising monthly TV bills, and DirecTV for not giving subscribers what they paid for. Even Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart slammed network parent Viacom for acting like China in pulling some shows from the Internet as part of the dispute, hurting people who weren’t DirecTV subscribers.

But the fight was short enough to forget about and move on. Plenty of disputes have lasted just a heartbeat — like ABC’s 15-minute blackout of the Oscars to Cablevision subscribers in March 2010. Others have dragged on for months.

“It was fortunate they were able to resolve it before the back and forth got any worse than it did,” Barclays analyst Anthony DiClemente said.

Mr. DiClemente said the relatively quick resolution boded well for an end to AMC Networks Inc.’s continuing dispute with Dish, which has gone on since July 1.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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