Versus, DirecTV Finally Reconnect On Carriage Accord3/15/2010 5:01 PM Eastern
After a more than six-month stalemate, DirecTV and Comcast have reached an agreement to return Versus to the top DBS provider's air.
Deal terms were not disclosed, but the agreement returns Versus to more than 14 million DirecTV households, the same level of penetration the network had before the parties' contract expired on Sept. 1 over pricing and positioning issues.
The pact also comes before Versus drops the puck as the exclusive national cable carrier of the National Hockey League playoffs, which face off next month, and as the sport winds down its regular-season and post-season chase.
DirecTV said Versus was seeking a major hike in its monthly license fee, while the Comcast-owned network had balked at the DBS operator wanting to drop it to a less penetrated level of service, reaching just 6.6 million homes.
During the fall, Versus carved out an extended and extensive free preview on Dish Network, as well as in select Time Warner Cable and Cox markets, which enabled it to make up much of the void left by the DirecTV disconnect.
It was unclear at press time, if Comcast and DirecTV, which have been at contract loggerheads over each other's regional sports networks had resolved some of those issues as part of the Versus settlement.
"We are pleased that both sides were able to work out a satisfactory deal to bring this programming back to our customers," said Derek Chang, executive vice president, content strategy and development, DirecTV in a statement.
"We're excited that we were able to come to a fair agreement that puts Versus back in millions of homes with DirecTV in time for our busy spring programming schedule," noted Versus president Jamie Davis. "We look forward to super-serving these fans with NHL regular-season and playoff coverage, our first live UFC event and much more."