DirecTV, which is mired in stalled carriage negotiations with Viacom — resulting in Viacom’s 17 channels being dropped from the DirecTV lineup — has made a programming move that appears to be a direct shot at Viacom’s kids’ channels, Deadline.com reports.
DirecTV added Disney Junior to its channel offerings, at a time when Viacom’s Nickelodeon, Nick Jr. and Nicktoons are unavailable to DirecTV’s 20 million customers.
The story notes: “Of course the satellite company doesn’t actually make that connection in today’s announcement: That would have been insulting to Disney. And who knows? Maybe DirecTV would have made the addition anyway. Still, its hard to avoid seeing this in the context of the spat with Viacom.”
DirecTV’s announcement focuses on Disney Junior, which is aimed at the 2-7 demo. The company says Disney Junior is “one of the most sought-after channels by DirecTV customers and will be permanently added to their programming options as a basic channel.”
Disney Junior is in its first year as a 24/7 channel, the report notes.
DirecTV EVP Derek Chang praised Disney — perhaps at the expense of Viacom — saying: “When it comes to children and families, nobody has the tremendous programming to compare with Disney. DirecTV is happy to place our trust in Disney as a partner in building this exciting new family service.”
Disney Junior will reportedly be seen on channel 289, next to Disney Channel.
The move follows a separate move by DirecTV, reported earlier today, in which the company announced it is providing eight Encore premium channels, along with other channels, free to subscribers to help offset the inconvenience of the Viacom blackout.