Was Viacom’s showdown last month with DirecTV worth the trouble? It was from Viacom’s view, CEO Philippe Dauman told analysts this morning. The final terms were “materially better for Viacom than the deal that was on the table” at the beginning of the nine-day period when the company’s 17 channels went dark at the homes of DirecTV’s 20M subscribers. “We are extremely pleased”. The impact will show up on Viacom’s next earnings report, due in about three months. But Dauman says his company’s ad losses will roughly equal the total sales for the BET Awards, which aired July 1. “They basically cancel each other out”, he says — which means the underlying business is showing “core sequential improvement.” The rate hike for DirecTV in the 7-year deal will be “significantly more than 20%” right away with “annual increases in excess of the prior agreement”. He’s also pleased that DirecTV will begin to offer some Viacom channels in Latin America. “We expect that to create additional value”, Dauman says. “The world presents a lot of opportunities for us.” He also noted that DirecTV has a year to pick up premium channel Epix on pre-negotiated terms but says that “the decision will be their’s.” Despite all of the improvements for Viacom, Dauman says that DirecTV “will be a lower percent of our revenues in the coming years”.
On the flip side, DirecTV CEO Michael White told analysts yesterday that he believes “we’ve got a fair deal” with Viacom. But he says that his company had to fight Viacom’s initial terms. “The customer at the end of the day is the one getting squeezed and bearing the brunt of these exorbitant price increase demands that are just not sustainable”, he said. “It would help everybody for our counterparts on the media side to spend a little more time in the customers’ homes understanding what’s happening to their incomes.”
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