Subscribers to AT&T’s DirecTV and U-verse don’t have to worry about losing access to Tribune Media’s local stations and WGN America. The companies say that they have a multi-year agreement to continue carriage. The previous deal expired September 30 and was extended to October 20. Afterward, AT&T and Tribune agreed to keep programming on the pay TV services while they continued negotiations.
There’s no word yet on details including financial terms, or whether there’s any expansion of AT&T’s streaming rights. But the agreement helps Tribune’s effort to convert WGN America from a superstation to a basic cable channel. AT&T will offer it on both of its services beginning November 1. By January 1 the channel is to be fully distributed on DirecTV and U-verse, adding 5 million subscribers — and bringing the network to more than 80 million.
DirecTV will offer dual east and west coast feeds of WGNA by the beginning of the new year.
Don’t be surprised if Tribune talks up the deal, and adds some details about it, on November 10 when it talks to Wall Street about its Q3 earnings.
Just before the contract expired Tribune’s Los Angeles station KTLA ran a frequent “Final notice for AT&T subscribers” crawl during its primetime shows. “At 2 PM PT Tuesday, October 20, KTLA will likely go dark,” it read. “Despite our continuing and best efforts, A&T U-Verse will deny you your KTLA.”
Tribune Media owns or operates 42 stations reaching more than 50 million homes. It’s also the leading independent owner of Fox and CW affiliates. Its markets include Chicago, Los Angeles, San Diego, Washington DC, Dallas and New Orleans.