Tribune Broadcasting Pulls Content From DirecTV

The Chicago-based broadcasting company says DirecTV refused to give it fair compensation; the satellite TV giant counters that Tribune reneged on a “handshake” deal.

Tribune Broadcasting has pulled its content from DirecTV, a move that will affect satellite TV customers in 19 markets.

"This situation is extremely unfortunate," Tribune president Nils Larsen said in a statement Saturday. “We don’t want anyone to lose the valuable programming we provide, but we simply cannot get fair compensation from DirecTV, and we cannot allow DirecTV to continue taking advantage of us.”

DirecTV had previously paid to broadcast WGN America, a cable network that carries Chicago Bulls games, but did not pay to broadcast other Tribune stations. 

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DirecTV, which reaches 32 million customers in the U.S. and Latin America, released a statement slamming Tribune Broadcasting’s decision.

"We're extremely perplexed as Tribune management and DirecTV had a handshake deal on Thursday with an agreed-upon rate for their channels," the statement read. "Their actions are the true definition of 'bad faith' in every sense of the term."

Tribune Broadcasting began informing DirecTV customers early last week that its programming might be cut from the digital television provider. The companies had been negotiating for months toward an agreement that would have allowed Tribune Broadcasting content to stay on DirecTV, but they failed to reach one by the March 31 deadline.

Areas where DirecTV costumers will lose content include Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Washington D.C. and Philadelphia.

Tribune Broadcasting, the radio and television arm of the Chicago-based Tribune Company, runs 23 television stations, the national cable network WGN America and Chicago’s WGN-AM.

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