Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman says the company got a better
deal from DirecTV after a bruising negotiation that left Nickelodeon, MTV and
other channels blacked out for nine days.
Dauman also said that Viacom completed its upfront, with
sales hitting $2.8 billion.
Speaking during Viacom's earnings conference call with
analysts, Dauman called the DirecTV negotiations a success. "In fact, the deal
we ultimately signed was materially better for Viacom than the deal what was on
the table at the time that DirecTV made the unfortunate decision to drop our
networks," he said.
According to Dauman, the DirecTV deal calls for an initial
rate increase of "significantly more" that 20% and "healthy annual increases in
excess of those we had in the expired deal for the remainder of the seven-year
The new DirecTV deal will contribute to double-digit growth
in domestic affiliate revenues in the quarter ending in September, he said.
The deal also called for increased carriage of NickToons and
some high-definition channels domestically, carriage of Viacom networks in
Latin America, and the availability of Paramount movies on video on demand on
Terms for carrying Viacom's joint venture premium service
Epix were agreed to, but it's up to DirecTV whether or not to carry Epix.
"In short we are extremely pleased with our DirecTV
agreement and only disappointed that so many of our viewers were deprived of
their favorite channels for nine long days," Dauman said.
Viacom reported a 7% drop in domestic advertising revenue in
the third quarter and said that the DirecTV interruption will reduce as revenue
growth by 1.5% in the current quarter. Despite that, the company is expecting
sequential improvement in ad revenue growth.
Despite ratings issues at many of its channels, Dauman also
said he was pleased with the results of Viacom's upfront negotiations.
"Overall our total upfront dollars were more than $2.8
billion up from last year. And we secured solid mid-single increases in
pricing," he said.
Dauman did not specify how big Viacom's volume increase was.
Industry sources say that volume for the cable upfront was up 4-5%. Other cable
programmers were reporting price increases in the mid to high-single digits.
At Nickelodeon, which had to issue make goods during the
Christmas season because of a sudden double digit ratings shortfall, Dauman said.
"We were able to main the same share of the kids' upfront volume as last year."