Viacom & DirecTV Stop Squabbling Long Enough To Finally End Blackout

A little more than a week into the epic contract battle between DirecTV and Viacom and a deal has finally been reached, despite Viacom’s statement on Wednesday that such an agreement wasn’t expected soon. The two companies kissed and made up early this morning, which means customers will now be reunited with their MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and VH1.

The Los Angeles Times says the cable programming company and satellite TV provider have finally put their differences aside in order to bring 20 million homes the channels they’ve been without.

Viacom wanted certain fees for its fare, and DirecTV thought those fees were too high.

DirecTV executive vice president Derek Chang said in a statement:

“We are very pleased to be able to restore the channels to our customers and thank them for their unprecedented patience and support. 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.”

He added that “it’s high time programmers ended these anti-consumer blackouts once and for all and prove our industry is about enabling people to connect to their favorite programs rather than denying them access.”

Not to be outdone, Viacom added its own succinct two cents about the whole imbroglio:

“Despite the unnecessary drama, we are very pleased with our agreement and are very thankful to have reconnected with our DirecTV viewers.”

Now that the tiff is over, it seems Viacom was hurt more than DirecTV. Ratings for many of its cable networks dipped more than 20% during the blackout, as rivals like the Disney Channel tromped on Nickelodeon and poached its viewers. Then there was that whole thing where Viacom pulled full episodes of its popular shows off the Internet just to twist the knife a little bit more.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but both of the companies said it includes all of Viacom’s networks. Epix, a pay movie channel that DirecTV said Viacom was trying to force it to carry, was not part of the agreement.

Viacom and DirecTV reach deal, end blackout [Los Angeles Times]