AT&T and Tribune finally make retrans deal for U-verse

After numerous extensions and blackout threats, AT&T (NYSE: T) has agreed to a TV broadcast retransmission renewal deal with Tribune Media. The agreement between the two companies will keep Tribune's 26 network affiliates on AT&T's U-verse service.

"AT&T and Tribune Media have reached a multi-year agreement covering Tribune Media's television stations and broad distribution of its cable network, WGN America, to AT&T U-verse and Direct subscribers," a Tribune statement said. 

No terms of the agreement were announced. The two sides had been haggling over a new retransmission agreement since before their last retrans deal expired Sept. 30.

AT&T and Tribune aren't the only pay-TV players negotiating new terms. Two other retrans-related impasses that began around the same time as AT&T and Tribune -- between Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) and Tegna, and between DirecTV and Media General -- and were both also recently been settled. 

The talks between AT&T and Tribune follow the recent closing of AT&T's purchase of DirecTV. In AT&T's third-quarter earnings call Thursday, Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and CEO, implied that the addition of the much larger DirecTV platform gave U-verse an enhanced position in terms of program licensing negotiations.  "We believe we are on a path for the best content pricing going forward," he said. 

Meanwhile, the FCC is currently considering changes to the rules that govern how retransmission talks are conducted. The agency's efforts in the area may be creating additional incentives for TV broadcasters to ink agreements before any new rules are issued.

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