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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. So much for Eric Holder's conversation about race. If white people have got something to say, they get sued over it. Bottom line: white people have un-freer speech than others as a consequence of the misnamed "Civil rights laws."

  2. I agree, having seen three shows, that I was less than wowed. Disappointing!!

  3. Start drilling, start fracking, and start using our own energy. Other states have enriched their citizens and nearly elminated unemployment by using these resources that are on private land. If you are against the 'low prices' of discount stores, the best way to allow shoppers more choice is to empower them with better earnings. NOT through manipulated gov mandated min wage hikes, but better jobs and higher competitive pay. This would be direct result of using our own energy resources, yet Obama knows that Americans who arent dependent of gov welfare are much less likely to vote Dem, so he looks for ways to ensure America's decline and keep its citizens dependent of gov.

  4. Say It Loud, I'm Black and Ashamed: It's too bad that with certain "black" entertainment events, it seems violence and thuggery follows and the collateral damage that it leaves behinds continues to be a strain on the city in terms of people getting hurt, killed or becoming victims of crimes and/or stretching city resources. I remember shopping in the Meadows area years ago until violence and crime ended make most of the business pack you and leave as did with Lafayette Square and Washington Square. Over the past 10 to 12 years, I remember going to the Indiana Black Expo Soul Picnic in Washington Park. Violence, gang fights and homicides ended that. My great grandmother still bears the scares on her leg from when she was trampled by a group of thugs running from gun fire from a rival gang. With hundreds of police offices downtown still multiple shootings, people getting shot downtown during Black Expo. A number of people getting shots or murdered at black clubs around the city like Club Six on the west side, The Industry downtown, Jamal Tinsley's shot out in front of the Conrad, multiple fights and shootings at the skating rinks, shootings at Circle Center Mall and shooting and robberies and car jackings at Lafayette Mall. Shootings and gang violence and the State Fair. I can go on and on and on. Now Broad Ripple. (Shaking head side to side) Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Ashamed.

  5. Ballard Administration. Too funny. This is the least fiscally responsive administration I have ever seen. One thing this article failed to mention, is that the Hoosier State line delivers rail cars to the Amtrak Beech Grove maintenance facility for refurbishment. That's an economic development issue. And the jobs there are high-paying. That alone is worth the City's investment.

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