Tribune switches off from DirecTV

MUMBAI: Tribune television stations have been switched off across DirecTV‘s 19 markets in the US after the two parties failed to reach an agreement over commercial terms leading to DirecTV subscribers being denied access programming provided by those stations.

DirecTV subscribers will also be unable to watch WGN America, Tribune’s national cable network.

Tribune Broadcasting’s contract with DirecTV expired at midnight 31 March.

As per US federal law, without an agreement in place, DirecTV cannot carry the signal of Tribune’s local television stations. Tribune’s local stations in the eastern time zone will be the first to be denied by DirecTV to its subscribers. Stations in other time zones will follow, the company said in a statement.

“This situation is extremely unfortunate. 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," said Tribune Broadcasting president Nils Larsen.

Tribune contended that DirecTV has never compensated Tribune for the rebroadcast of its television stations and Tribune is asking for an agreement that is similar to those that DirecTV already has in place with hundreds of other broadcasters and programme providers.

“As baseball season gets underway, DirecTV’s inflexibility means sports fans in some of our local markets such as Chicago, Philadelphia, and Washington, will be deprived of one of baseball’s most cherished events—Opening Day,” said Larsen.

"In addition, local news, weather, traffic and sports coverage will also be lost, as well as the high-quality entertainment programming we offer on our local stations. This is a terrible outcome for the communities we serve and we regret that DirecTV has put us in this position."

DirecTV subscribers who want to acess content provided by Tribune television stattions can, however, avail other options, "They don’t have to miss their regular news or favourite shows. Our broadcast stations are available for free in HD with a TV antenna or through an alternative pay-TV provider," Larsen stated.

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