Just as things were starting to get nasty, Tribune Broadcasting and DirecTV (Nasdaq: DTV) say they've reached a deal.
In a new retransmission agreement signed late yesterday, DirecTV earned the right to broadcast 23 local Tribune television stations and the programmer's national cable network WGN America in 19 of its media markets. Tribune pulled its content from DirecTV in those markets earlier this week after the two failed to negotiate a contract renewal. The stalemate threatened to keep subscribers in New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. from catching baseball's opening day.
Tribune Broadcasting president Nils Larsen had this to say in a press release:
"We are extremely pleased to have reached an agreement with DirecTV and to return our valuable news, entertainment and sports programming to DirecTV subscribers. 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."
On Monday, DirecTV issued a statement saying that a handshake deal had already been reached with Tribune last week, and that it was surprised to see the agreement fall apart over the weekend. The satellite operator then followed the statement up with a formal complaint to the FCC a short time later.
Today it appears all is forgiven. Whether thanks to public pressure or savvy negotiation, Tribune and DirecTV have come to terms again. Unfortunately, their dispute marks only the latest in a series of retransmission fights that have recently grown increasingly public, and increasingly acrimonious.
- see the press release
- see notice of DirecTV's FCC complaint
Tribune stations go dark for DirecTV subscribers
DirecTV, Tribune square off over retransmission fees
Mediacom says retransmission fights still squeezing small cable operators