February 1, 2011 in Business, News

DirecTV, KAYU reach temporary truce for Super Bowl

By The Spokesman-Review

Satellite TV viewers denied programs from Spokane’s Fox Network station, KAYU, will start seeing them today as both sides in a contract dispute called a four-week cease fire, in time for this weekend’s Super Bowl.

Northwest Broadcasting, Inc., which operates KAYU TV, OK’d a deal that allows DirecTV to transmit Fox programs, such as “The Simpsons,” “House” and “American Idol,” to customers in Eastern Washington and North Idaho.

The contract between the two ended Dec. 31. Since then, KAYU has not allowed DirecTV to carry its signal until the two settle terms of a new contract. The key issue is how much DirecTV will pay Northwest for carrying KAYU.

Tuesday’s decision said the companies will try to settle that dispute over the next month. Northwest CEO and President Brian Brady said in a press release his company is seeking less than three cents per day per subscriber from DirecTV.

A DirecTV spokesman said the resumption of Fox programs should begin today.

The dispute also affects other Northwest Broadcasting stations in New York, Oregon and Yakima.

Since the blackout started Jan. 1, thousands of affected customers called and e-mailed the two media companies, looking for alternate options to watch TV shows and NFL playoff games.

Numerous others either cancelled their DirecTV subscription or hunted for antennas to watch Fox shows over the air.

On Tuesday, Northwest’s Brady asked that DirecTV provide refunds for those subscribers who paid a termination fee of hundreds of dollars to cancel contracts. DirecTV Senior Vice President Dan Hartman said the decision to renew the talks is not linked to refunds.

“The option of refunds for those cancellation fees is not part of the negotiations,” Hartman said.

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