DirecTV And Viacom Making “Slow Progress” As Contract Talks Continue

That’s the way Derek Chang, DirecTV‘s EVP Content, Strategy and Development, characterizes the state of play after last night when his 20M customers lost Viacom’s 17 channels including Nickelodeon, MTV, and Comedy Central. Negotiators spoke this morning, and “we’re making slow progress,” he tells me. The exec says his company hasn’t decided whether customers might receive a discount or rebate for the loss of so many popular services if the contract dispute drags on. “We’re going to do what we can to keep them happy. How we deal with that specifically will depend on what happens here.”

Related: Does Viacom Have More At Risk Than DirecTV Does In Programming Standoff?

Price remains the core issue. Chang says that Viacom wants DirecTV’s payment for the channels to increase by more than 30% in the first year of a new contract followed by “annual escalators well in excess of normal inflators.” Contracts normally run from five to 10 years, but he wouldn’t say how long Viacom’s would last. Chang says that Viacom has “certainly rejected more than a double-digit increase,” but declined to offer additional details about the offers and counteroffers. Viacom has said that DirecTV’s offer is (more…)

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