06.13.2008 03:51 PM
LIN TV Strikes Retrans With DirecTV, Comcast and Charter
LIN TV reached retrans deals this week with DirecTV, Comcast, and finally, after prolonged talks, Charter Communications.

The Providence, R.I., broadcast group said it cut a deal with DirecTV for carriage of both the analog and HD signals of 25 stations in 15 markets throughout New Mexico, Texas, New York, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Connecticut, Virginia, Alabama, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. DirecTV has around 17 million subscribers.

The deal with Comcast covers analog and digital signals for 27 stations in the same 15 markets as the DirecTV pact save one. Comcast brings nearly 25 million cable subscribers to the table for LIN.

And while talks with Charter appeared to go south in the first days of June, the two media companies made nice by mid-month, cutting a retrans deal for 11 stations in seven markets. The previous pact was set to expire June 30, according to the St. Louis Business Journal.

LIN TV did not disclose terms of the deal with regard to duration nor fees. The company did report that revenues from retrans for the first quarter of 2008 were up 119 percent over the same period last year to about $3.2 million. (The company combines retrans and Internet advertising in its results, which totaled $4.9 million for the quarter.) However, LIN chief Vince Sadusky told analysts that "We“ve said previously of the digital revenue total, it“s roughly one-third Internet and two-thirds retrans, and that“s a pretty good metric to use for now and going forward."

LIN stock (NYSE:TVL) showed some recovery on the news of the retrans deals, up about 40 cents from a low of $7.82 a share Thursday to $8.22 by mid-day Friday.

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