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Tribune Broadcasting and DirecTV reach 5-year deal

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DirecTV subscribers in 19 U.S. markets, including Indianapolis, have regained access to a host of channels that had been blacked out since Sunday because of a contract impasse with Tribune Broadcasting.

The two companies said late Wednesday that they had struck a deal that will allow DirecTV Inc. to carry all of Tribune Broadcasting's local stations and WGN America for the next five years. Terms were not disclosed.

The deal let Indianapolis stations Fox59 and WTTV return to DirecTV subscribers Wednesday night.

DirecTV Inc. subscribers in the markets lost access to programming ranging from "American Idol" to Major League Baseball after the previous contract with Tribune Broadcasting expired at midnight Saturday. The Tribune Broadcasting channels were restored at about 9 p.m. Wednesday, DirectTV said.

The blackout affected DirecTV subscribers in major markets including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, New Orleans and Philadelphia. The blackout also extended to stations in Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Oregon, Texas, Washington state and Washington, D.C. DirectTV said 5 million homes were affected.

In its statement Wednesday, DirecTV accused Tribune of being "willing to hold our customers hostage in an attempt to extract excessive rates." But it described the final agreement as a fair deal at market rates.

Tribune also said it was pleased with the deal.

"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," said Nils Larsen, president of Tribune Broadcasting.

Chicago-based Tribune Co.'s broadcasting group owns or runs 23 television stations, WGN America on national cable and Chicago radio station WGN-AM. Its publishing arm includes daily newspapers such as the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and The Baltimore Sun.

Tribune Co. filed for bankruptcy protection in December 2008 after suffering a financial downturn brought on by a steep slump in newspaper advertising and a debt-laden buyout engineered by real estate mogul Sam Zell.

DirecTV, based in El Segundo, Calif., serves 32 million people in the U.S. and Latin America.

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  • Breakaway
    And as the breakaway from pay tv continues, the over the air broadcasters become the winners. Snooki, the real housewives from hell, the Kardashians and all the other cable tv junk are the losers.
  • As Cost Go Up
    As the cost of service on cable and Direct TV go up consumers will shift to other services such as internet TV and local stations over the air. I know where the fee issue is going, fewer subscribers for Cable and Dish, more over the air and internet TV. This will be interesting to watch the big smart boys price themselves out of a market.

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  1. With Pence running the ship good luck with a new government building on the site. He does everything on the cheap except unnecessary roads line a new beltway( like we need that). Things like state of the art office buildings and light rail will never be seen as an asset to these types. They don't get that these are the things that help a city prosper.

  2. Does the $100,000,000,000 include salaries for members of Congress?

  3. "But that doesn't change how the piece plays to most of the people who will see it." If it stands out so little during the day as you seem to suggest maybe most of the people who actually see it will be those present when it is dark enough to experience its full effects.

  4. That's the mentality of most retail marketers. In this case Leo was asked to build the brand. HHG then had a bad sales quarter and rather than stay the course, now want to go back to the schlock that Zimmerman provides (at a considerable cut in price.) And while HHG salesmen are, by far, the pushiest salesmen I have ever experienced, I believe they are NOT paid on commission. But that doesn't mean they aren't trained to be aggressive.

  5. The reason HHG's sales team hits you from the moment you walk through the door is the same reason car salesmen do the same thing: Commission. HHG's folks are paid by commission they and need to hit sales targets or get cut, while BB does not. The sales figures are aggressive, so turnover rate is high. Electronics are the largest commission earners along with non-needed warranties, service plans etc, known in the industry as 'cheese'. The wholesale base price is listed on the cryptic price tag in the string of numbers near the bar code. Know how to decipher it and you get things at cost, with little to no commission to the sales persons. Whether or not this is fair, is more of a moral question than a financial one.

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