The changes will begin to take place after private equity firm Colony Capital completes its acquisition of LodgeNet Interactive, part of a pre-packaged Chapter 11 that’s expected to wrap up later this month. At that point DirecTV will participate in what the companies call “an expanded strategic relationship” to improve LodgeNet’s interactive TV and broadband services which go to 1.4M hotel and hospital rooms in the U.S. and Canada. The No. 1 satellite company will provide LodgeNet’s customers with “upgraded products and services” and receive warrants that it can use to buy up to 2.5% of the restructured LodgeNet. The arrangement will provide customers with “a unique financing program to facilitate upgrades to HDTV service at little or no out-of-pocket capital expense.” In addition, LodgeNet plans to offer additional a la carte programming, exclusive content, and DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket. LodgeNet’s user interface will resemble DirecTV’s, and the satellite company will provide support for operations and customers. The companies add that they’ll develop an open architecture technology to provide “innovative tools” to help “today’s technology-savvy travelers.” Colony Principal Richard Nanula says the changes will “help re-establish hospitality-based TV as the preeminent viewing experience, a distinction it held when the company first introduced pay-per-view and video-on-demand to the marketplace over 20 years ago.”
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