Viacom, DirecTV to Relaunch Fee Talks Wednesday Afternoon - Source
07/11/2012| 03:58pm US/Eastern
By William Launder
Viacom Inc. (VIA, VIAB) and DirecTV Group Inc. (>> DIRECTV) will restart negotiations over carriage fees Wednesday afternoon, hours after Viacom channels such as MTV and Nickelodeon went dark for subscribers of the pay-TV operator, a person familiar with the matter said.
Meanwhile, as the dispute over carriage fees deepens, Viacom has slimmed its offering of content available to viewers for free online, including "Jersey Shore" and "The Daily Show." That move comes after DirecTV suggested viewers turn to the Web to view their favorite Viacom shows during the blackout.
DirecTV's Chief Executive Mike White has said the availability of Viacom programming on online video outlets like Netflix Inc. (>> Netflix, Inc.) was part of the reason why it was difficult to pass price increases onto consumers for Viacom's channels aired on DirecTV's satellite-TV service.
Viacom channels went dark for DirecTV's approximately 20 million subscribers late Tuesday night, after the two companies failed to reach an agreement on an increase in programming fees.
--John Jannarone contributed to this article.
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