Univision Reaches Retransmission-Consent Pact With DirecTV

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Univision Communications Inc. has reached a multiyear retransmission-consent agreement with leading satellite provider DirecTV.
The deal, terms of which were not disclosed, covers the network feeds of Univision, sister broadcast service TeleFutura and cable network Galavision. In addition, it encompasses Univision owned-and-operated stations, as well affiliated stations owned and run by Entravision Communications Corp., Equity Media Holdings Corp. and Fisher Communications, Inc.

Sources familiar with the deal indicate that Univision 's carriage contract with DirecTV had expired at year-end, but the parties continued to negotiate, culminating with this agreement.

The deal with DirecTV marks Univision's second major retransmission-consent pact. Just after the turn of the year, the leading Spanish-language media holder in the U.S. -- which last week confirmed that it had issued pink slips to about 300 employees in the face of the faltering economy -- announced it had struck a similar accord with the nation's largest distributor, top cable operator Comcast.
In 2007, Univision disclosed that for the first time it would seek retransmission consent, rather, than must carry for its stations. During a press conference following its upfront presentation to advertisers, Univision officials declared that the company would seek license fees of $1 per subscriber for its stations.
While it is unclear what terms were reached, some cable operators have indicated that Univision has lowered its license-fee asking price by half.
"The partnership with DirecTV speaks to the growing influence of the Hispanic consumer in the nation," said Univision Communications Inc. CEO Joe Uva in a statement. "Our distributors understand that a partnership with Univision is an investment in sustained growth."
Noted DirecTV executive vice president, content strategy and development Derek Chang: "We are pleased to continue our long-standing relationship both with Univision and the large base of Hispanic customers who enjoy Univision's programming on DirecTV."
According to marketplace sources, Univision's carriage contract with Time Warner Cable is set to expire at the end of March.

A Univision spokeswoman would only say the parties are in distribution discussions.

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