DirecTV isn't showing broadcasting WGN in the Chicago area because of a dispute over retransmission fees. As I wrote last month, decades after pay-TV became accessible to most Americans, programming from over-the-air broadcasters still remains the most popular viewer fare.
DTV profits from WGN shows--and its owner, Tribune Broadcasting, wants compensation--a retransmission fee--which it has been entitled to since 1992. The satellite service is claiming that Tribune's fees are exorbitant--only because it seems DirecTV wants such programming for free--as it has for years.
Eighteen other Tribune-owned stations are off DTV until these negotiations have ended--and yes, the parties are still negotiating.
The pay-providers seem to be waiting for the government to step in, "Until the FCC or Congress act, broadcasters will keep on holding viewers hostage to gain leverage in business negotiations," says an industry spokesman.
Okay, as far as the "hostage" issue, other providers are still carrying WGN and the other Tribune stations--and what about the free market? Shouldn't the businesses sort this issue themselves? And Chicago area viewers who want to watch the Cubs and White Sox openers on WGN can do so--over the air broadcasting is obviously still taking place.
Cable TV providers want Congress to turn back the clock and snag a sweet deal
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