Viacom reaches deal with DirecTV

Cartoon character Spongebob Squarepants walks on the trading floor to ring the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange on July 15, 2009 in New York City.

Jeff Horwich: Jon Stewart, Spongebob and Jersey Shore are back on for DirectTV subscribers. Viacom had blacked out Comedy Central, Nickelodeon and 16 other channels during a contract dispute. So who lost, and who won?

Here's Marketplace's Scott Tong.

Scott Tong: Viacom ended its blackout, coming to a deal with Direct TV on how much to charge for its content -- no specifics -- but on Monday, Jon Stewart of the Daily Show on Comedy Central ripped all the parties. 

He says Americans realizing during the outage: 

Jon Stewart: There’s other entertaining in the world: Shows, movies, board games, the Bible.

Tony Wible at Janney Capital Markets thinks Viacom negotiated with a weaker hand -- fewer people are watching its shows.

Tony Wible: And if that revenue is declining because of their ratings, they need to paid more by the cable and satellite operators.

On the other hand, carriers like DirecTV don’t control all the eyeballs. These days, you can watch Comedy Central shows on a tv, or iPad, Netflix, Hulu. It’s a fast-changing world, though for now the traditional gatekeepers, like cable companies, control market. As the parties sort this out, one analyst says: be ready for more negotiation wars, and outages of your favorite shows.

I’m Scott Tong for Marketplace.

About the author

Scott Tong is a correspondent for Marketplace’s sustainability desk, with a focus on energy, environment, resources, climate, supply chain and the global economy.

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