By Sonya Magett, EnStarz | Jul 22, 2012 04:08 PM EDT
DirecTV reached a deal to restore Viacom Inc's networks to their 20 million U.S. subscribers.
Viacom said it restored all of its cable networks, including Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, MTV and BET, which became unavailable to the satellite TV provider customers as of July 10.
DirecTV and Viacom had been in talks over a new contract but could not agree on terms before the July 10 deadline.
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"A decisive push to hammer out a deal that we believe is fair and mutually beneficial (occurred)" said Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman in a memo to company staff on Thursday.
The channels went off air after DirecTV did not agree with the increase Viacom was demanding. The companies did not disclose the financial terms of the new contract.
Sources familiar with the deal said DirecTV will pay Viacom around $600 million in the first year of the seven-year contract with subsequent mid-single digit percentage increases. That would be a 20 percent increase over the previous contract's $500 million.
DirecTV previously said Viacom sought a 30 percent increase in carriage fees, equaling $1 billion over five years.
Viacom countered that its networks represented about 20 percent of all viewing on DirecTV but accounted for less than 5 percent of its programming costs.
"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," saidDerek Chang, DirecTV's top programming negotiator.
The loss of 26 networks to 20 million homes for nine full days is considered unprecedented to date in the U.S. pay-TV industry.
The nine days of the blackout resulted in Viacom's channels such as Nickelodeon losing ground to competitors like The Disney Channel. DirecTV also shed some customers in the period.
The new contract will let DirecTV customers view Viacom's programming on tablets, laptops, handhelds and other personal devices.
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