The retransmission contract between multimedia Tribune and satellite MVPD DirecTV expires 3/31/12, and Tribune is so pessimistic about getting a deal done by then that it is warning viewers that it is likely to be forced off the service’s channel lineup. Tribune says the MVPD is “refusing to offer a fair deal.”
In all, 16 Tribune television markets are on the bubble, as is continued DirecTV carriage of Tribune’s WGN America.
Tribune says up until now it hasn’t been paid any retransmission fees by DirecTV and it is simply asking for a deal on par with what other broadcasters are getting.
“Despite our best efforts, DirecTV is refusing to offer a fair deal and we remain far apart in negotiations,” said Nils Larsen, Tribune Broadcasting president. “As a result of DirecTV’s inflexibility, there’s a strong likelihood that service interruptions will occur. We feel we have an obligation to make sure DirecTV subscribers are aware that they will lose the programming provided both by our local stations and WGN America after Saturday.”
Larsen added, “Our television stations are vitally important assets in the communities we serve. Each week, viewers across our markets rely on us for more than 700 hours of local news, traffic, weather and sports coverage, as well as live sports events and high-quality entertainment programming. DirecTV subscribers will be deprived of all of that programming when our contract expires at midnight, March 31.”
Tribune is telling affected viewers that they have options, including buying an HD antenna or switching to a competing MVPD.