Viacom, DirecTV standoff heads into uncharted territory

By Erin Kim and Julianne Pepitone

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — As one of the largest cable blackouts in the industry’s history stretches into its fourth day, analysts say they’re not holding their breath for a quick resolution. Both sides have too much at stake in a fight affecting 20 million DirecTV customers.

Many industry watchers think Viacom will get some of the fee increase it’s seeking, but not without a protracted battle.

No one has any real sense of how long the standoff could last.

“I don’t know how you predict that,” says James Goss, a senior investment analyst at Barrington Research. “At the end, they have to make an agreement that they both can live with.”

Nomura analyst Michael Nathanson wrote in a research note that he “would not be surprised” if the standoff lasts anywhere from 10 days to one month, in line with similar disputes in 2010.

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