Tribune Owned CW & Fox Stations Return to DirecTV as DirecTV & Tribune Reach Carriage Agreement

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April 4th, 2012

Now removed from the Fan Excuse Bingo card, the Tribune-owned Fox and CW stations are returning to DirecTV. Despite all public sparring (and judging from the DirecTV release below, they still aren't quite done getting some jabs in), I always figured it would get resolved before Thursday.  Otherwise, DirecTV subscribers in Chicago would have needed to jump through some hoops to watch the Cubs' season opener tomorrow on Chicago's CW affiliate (WGN).

via press release:

DIRECTV and Tribune Reach Agreement For Retransmission of Tribune’s Local Channels and WGN America

EL SEGUNDO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--DIRECTV and Tribune have reached a retransmission consent deal for DIRECTV to continue carrying all of Tribune’s local stations and WGN America for the next five years. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“We’re pleased that Tribune and their creditors now recognize that all DIRECTV wanted from day one was to pay fair market rates for their channels”

“We’re pleased that Tribune and their creditors now recognize that all DIRECTV wanted from day one was to pay fair market rates for their channels,” said Derek Chang, executive vice president of Content, Strategy and Development, DIRECTV. “It’s unfortunate that Tribune was willing to hold our customers hostage in an attempt to extract excessive rates, but in the end we reached a fair deal at market rates similar to what we originally agreed to on March 29. On behalf of our customers, we are very happy to close the deal and put this behind us.”

Tribune restored all of their local signals and WGN America to DIRECTV customers at approximately 9 p.m. ET.

Five million American homes blacked out from their local broadcaster cries out for an examination in Washington, D.C of the decades old telecom law that encourages these impasses.

About DIRECTV

DIRECTV (NASDAQ: DTV) is one of the world’s leading providers of digital television entertainment services delivering a premium video experience through state-of-the-art technology, unmatched programming and industry leading customer service to 32 million customers in the U.S. and Latin America. In the U.S., DIRECTV offers its 19.9 million customers access to more than 170 HD channels and Dolby-Digital® 5.1 theater-quality sound, access to exclusive sports programming such as NFL SUNDAY TICKET™, Emmy-award winning technology and higher customer satisfaction than the leading cable companies for 11 years running. DIRECTV Latin America, through its subsidiaries and affiliated companies in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Venezuela, Colombia, and other Latin American countries, leads the pay-TV category in technology, programming and service, delivering an unrivaled digital television experience to 12 million customers. DIRECTV sports and entertainment properties include three Regional Sports Networks (Northwest, Rocky Mountain and Pittsburgh) as well as a 60 percent interest in Game Show Network. For the most up-to-date information on DIRECTV, please visit www.directv.com.

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And here's Tribune's release:

Tribune Broadcasting Reaches Agreement With DirecTV

New Contract Covers 23 Local Television Stations in 19 Markets and WGN America

Tribune Broadcasting announced this evening that it has reached an agreement with DirecTV that will enable DirecTV subscribers to avoid any further disruption in service and to once again enjoy Tribune’s 23 local television stations as well as WGN America, Tribune’s national cable network.

“We are extremely pleased to have reached an agreement with DirecTV and to return our valuable news, entertainment and sports programming to DirecTV subscribers,” said Nils Larsen, Tribune Broadcasting president.  “On behalf of Tribune Broadcasting, I want to thank viewers across all of our markets for their support, understanding and patience during the negotiating process—we truly regret the service interruptions of the last several days.”

The agreement comes as baseball season is about to open, and enables DirecTV subscribers to see Chicago Cubs and White Sox baseball on WGN-TV in Chicago and on WGN America, as well as the Mets on WPIX-TV in New York,  Phillies baseball on PHL17 in Philadelphia, and the Washington Nationals on WDCW-TV in Washington, D.C.

DirecTV subscribers also will again have access to the more than 700 hours of local news, weather, traffic, and sports coverage produced by Tribune’s local television stations, as well as prime-time entertainment programming like “American Idol,” “Glee,” and “New Girl,” on the company’s Fox affiliates, and “One Tree Hill,” “Vampire Diaries,” and “Gossip Girl” on its CW affiliates.

 
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