Today in Connected Consumer

SpongeBob’s long national nightmare is over. Viacom and DirecTV have struck a deal to return Nickelodeon and 25 other Viacom channels to the satellite-TV service, ending a nine day blackout that had caused pain all around. Hard to know who blinked until more details of the deal trickle out, but initial reports say DirecTV will pay Viacom at least $600 million a year, representing roughly a 20 percent increase over their previous deal. That’s a hefty bump but less than the 30 percent DirecTV had said Viacom was demanding. Nerves are apparently still raw, however, even with the networks back on the air. “The attention surrounding this unnecessary and ill-advised blackout by Viacom has accomplished one key thing: it serves notice to all media companies that bullying TV providers and their customers with blackouts won’t get them a better deal,” DirecTV executive VP Derek Chang said in a statement. That sounds more Cartman than SpongeBob.