Gannett, DirecTV Work Toward Retrans Pact

'Intense' Negotiations, Consumer Messaging as Deadline Looms

Staring at a Nov. 30 deadline, Gannett Broadcasting says its "in intense negotiations," with DirecTV aimed at a rreaching a retransmission-consent deal.

At the same time, the parties have begun to craft their positioning statements with consumers as well.

Gannett ran a crawl during primetime Nov. 28, warning viewers that a shutdown may occur at the end of the week for DirecTV subscribers.

Said Gannett in a statement: "Over the past weeks, we have been in intense negotiations with DirecTV to reach a fair, market-based deal. Gannett has never had service disruption with a major carrier. However, with the Nov. 30 deadline approaching, we have a responsibility to inform our viewers of the possibility of a signal disruption, which is why we have begun running crawls and PSAs on our stations. We will continue to work with DirecTV right up to the deadline."

DirecTV issued its own statement: "We remain in productive discussions with Gannett Broadcasting and have no intention of removing any of their local stations from DirecTV customers' line-ups after Nov. 30, since only Gannett can do that. DirecTV customers should rest assured that, even though Gannett has removed its stations from other distributors' customers before, those interruptions were resolved within hours and not days. We would hope Gannett will not resort to any unnecessary blackout, however brief it might be."

Gannett owns 23 stations. Last month, it reached an 11th hour deal with Dish Network to avert a disconnect.