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DirecTV/Viacom Trade Barbs in Retrans Battle

Viacom turned up the heat in its ongoing carriage battle with DirecTV, claiming the satellite giant has been setting up obstacles to an agreement and DirecTV claiming that the programmer's insistence it includes sparsely carried movie channel Epix in any deal is the main roadblock.

Viacom pulled its 17 networks, including Comedy Central, MTV, BET and Nickelodeon from DirecTV's 20 million customers on July 10 after it could not reach a carriage agreement.

DirecTV has cited Viacom's exorbitant rate increase demands - 30% according to their estimates -- which Viacom has claimed amounts to just pennies per day. The fight got increasingly nasty as the days progressed - at one point Viacom blocked access to full episodes of some of its programming online after DirecTV advertised the Internet as an alternative source for its customers during the dispute. The programmerreinstated those shows on July 17.

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