We're extremely perplexed as Tribune management and DIRECTV had a handshake deal on Thursday with an agreed upon rate for their channels. Their actions are the true definition of "bad faith" in every sense of the term.
We can't help but wonder whether Tribune's ability to negotiate a reasonable retransmission agreement with DIRECTV is being undermined by the complexities and competing interests in their lengthy bankruptcy process. Despite our best efforts to compensate Tribune fairly for both WGN America and the local stations, it seems they are focused on unduly benefitting their creditors rather than viewers. Threatening station blackouts to extract an exorbitant fee for all of Tribune's content may provide an improved return for certain banks and hedge funds, but is not in the interest of its viewers and is not a cure for bankruptcy.
If the local stations and WGN America do come down at midnight, it will be 100% Tribune's decision to take them away from customers. To come so close and then renege on terms that affect millions of customers defies Tribune's long history of protecting the public interest. However, we hope Tribune does the right thing and honors their word, keeps the channels on and puts customers before creditors.
DIRECTV (NASDAQ: DTV) is one of the world's leading providers of digital television entertainment services delivering a premium video experience through state-of-the-art technology, unmatched programming and industry leading customer service to 32 million customers in the U.S. and Latin America. In the U.S., DIRECTV offers its 19.9 million customers access to more than 170 HD channels and Dolby-Digital® 5.1 theater-quality sound, access to exclusive sports programming such as NFL SUNDAY TICKET™, Emmy-award winning technology and higher customer satisfaction than the leading cable companies for 11 years running. DIRECTV Latin America, through its subsidiaries and affiliated companies in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Venezuela, Colombia, and other Latin American countries, leads the pay-TV category in technology, programming and service, delivering an unrivaled digital television experience to 12 million customers. DIRECTV sports and entertainment properties include three Regional Sports Networks (Northwest, Rocky Mountain and Pittsburgh) as well as a 60 percent interest in Game Show Network. For the most up-to-date information on DIRECTV, please visit www.directv.com.
Darris Gringeri, 212-205-0882
Robert Mercer, 310-964-4683