Tribune to switch off programmes on DirecTV

MUMBAI: Millions of DirecTV subscribers will stop getting programming provided by Tribune television stations in 16 markets across the US at midnight 31 March, as result of breakdown in negotiations on transmission fees.

This is the date when Tribune‘s contract with DirecTV expires.

Subscribers will also lose access to WGN America, Tribune‘s national cable network.

Tribune has alleged that DirecTV is not offering it a fair deal by refusing to compensate for the rebroadcast of its television stations. At the same time, DirecTV is paying popular broadcasters for the right to distribute their programming for more than 10 years. The television station is now asking for an agreement that is similar to those that it has in place with other broadcasters and programme providers.

Tribune Broadcasting president Nils Larsen explained, "Despite our best efforts, DirecTV is refusing to offer a fair deal and we remain far apart in negotiations. 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."

"Our television stations are vitally important assets in the communities we serve," said Larsen. "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."

As a result of breakdown of talks, DirecTV subscribers will lose entertainment programming such as "American Idol,"Glee","New Girl" and sports programming such as Nascar and Major League Baseball among others.

Tribune has established a web site to enable DirecTV subscribers to register their concerns about losing this valuable programming. "Ssubscribers should let DirecTV know how they feel," said Larsen. "Their opinions are important and they should let DirecTV know they want to keep all of this programming."

Tribune is one of the leading multimedia companies, operating businesses in broadcasting, publishing, and interactive. The company‘s broadcasting group owns or operates 23 television stations, WGN America on national cable and Chicago‘s WGN-AM.

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