DirecTV Strikes Reaches Agreement With Hearst to Carry Television Stations

DirecTV reached an agreement with Hearst Corp.’s television division, averting the loss of local TV stations to its satellite-TV customers.

“We’re happy to have reached a fair agreement that will allow Hearst’s local broadcast networks to remain available to our customers,” Robert Mercer, a spokesman for El Segundo, California-based DirecTV, said today in an e-mail.

Terms of the agreement weren’t disclosed. At least seven blackouts occurred in 2010 because of fee disputes, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. At risk for DirecTV were signals from ABC, CBS and NBC stations that Hearst owns in Boston, Pittsburgh and Baltimore, among other markets.

Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc., based in Hunt Valley, Maryland, and New York-based Time Warner Cable Inc. are seeking a new agreement to replace a contract that expires tomorrow at midnight. Viacom Inc., the New York-based owner of MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon, and St. Louis-based Suddenlink Communications are also in talks on a new pact.

DirecTV, the biggest U.S. satellite-TV provider, fell 1 cent to $40.09 today in Nasdaq Stock Market trading. The shares have climbed 20 percent this year. Closely held Hearst is based in New York.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andy Fixmer in Los Angeles at afixmer@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net

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