Viacom (NYSE: VIA) has a new carriage deal with the DISH Network, avoiding any of those pesky late-night staredowns like the one it had with Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) Cable on New Year’s Eve. More interesting, perhaps, is the deal finally signed with sibling EchoStar (NSDQ: SATS) to distribute content from MTV Networks, BET and Paramount Pictures on Sling.com. EchoStar owns Sling Media, which is in the midst of a leadership exodus. Co-founders CEO Blake Krikorian and his brother Jason are already gone. But Jason Hirschhorn, president of Sling Media Entertainment, is on board til March and must be pleased to finally land a deal he thought would be among his first for the Sling video portal, given his previous ties to Viacom and MTVN; Greg Clayman led the Viacom side. The deals were reported first by the Wall Street Journal, and paidContent confirmed other details with a source familiar with the situation.
The content being licensed includes long-and-short form. Viacom and Sling will share revenues, and while no one is talking details, I believe the split is the customary 70-30; Viacom is responsible for ad sales. The EchoStar and DISH deals were negotiated in tandem but are not directly linked the way they would be prior to the split into two companies. Viacom gets a pay increase for content distributed by the satellite operator. It also gets more leverage with the cable operators every time it signs a deal with a competitor; last week, it was AT&T (NYSE: T).
Update on Sling Media: A Sling spokesman confirms that John Gilmore, COO for the past four years, is confirmed as GM of Sling Media. The company plans to hire GMs for New York and for Sling.com, who will report to Gilmore after Hirschhorn leaves.
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