DirecTV and Tribune Broadcasting Settle Carriage Dispute
UPDATED: After nearly 4 days of blackout and a complaint with the FCC, the parties signed a deal to reinstate local signals on Wednesday.
The carriage dispute between DirecTV and Tribune Broadcasting came to an end Wednesday night with the brokerage of a new deal.
DirecTV confirmed an end to the dispute and a five-year contract, noting that all Tribune signals -- 23 affiliates in 19 cities and WGN America -- were restored to its satellite customers at approximately 9 p.m. ET.
“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 DirecTV EVP of content, strategy and development, Derek Chang. “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.”
On Monday, DirecTV announced a complaint with the FCC, seeking an intervention in the dispute over terms of Tribune's bankruptcy.
The complaint accused the company of pulling service after being influenced by Tribune creditors after assurances from Tribune executives that they had the authority to broker the new deal without deferring.
Tribune, which entered bankruptcy in 2008, has stated that its three largest creditors -- JP Morgan Chase Bank; Angelo, Gordon & Co. and Oaktree Partners -- will control 30 percent of voting interests. DirecTV argued that since the FCC has yet to rule on the proposed transfers, those creditors don't yet have authority in matters of carriage decisions.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.