UPDATE 1-Viacom, DirecTV talks break down, blackout continues
July 18 (Reuters) - Viacom Inc said talks have broken down with DirecTV Group to restore its 26 networks to the satellite TV provider's 20 million U.S. subscribers.
The New York media giant, whose popular networks include MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central, said in a statement posted on its blog on Wednesday that DirecTV, the second largest pay-TV provider, had no intention of working out a deal.
DirecTV subscribers are now without the channels for over a week, making it easily one of the longest programming blackouts involving this number of major networks and this many customers.
Viacom said it made a significant compromise last week to get the deal through with the hope that programming would be restored by Friday but DirecTV did not agree to its offer.
"Unfortunately, DirectTV has moved backwards significantly and created more obstacles to reaching an agreement," Viacom said.
DirecTV, like other pay-TV distributors, has pushed backed against what it claims are exorbitant increases in programming fees that it says it does not want to pass on to customers.
DirecTV said Viacom's statement was "completely inaccurate". It said Viacom's most recent proposal for the carriage of 17 channels at a fair price had also insisted that it carry its EPIX movie channel at an additional cost of more than $500 million.
Viacom said there appeared to be no end in sight for resolving the dispute.
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