Negotiations Continue As DirecTV-Rainbow/MSG Deadline Approaches12/30/2009 4:59 PM Eastern
While Fox and Time Warner Cable continue to garner many of the headlines in their cantankerous year-end contract negotiations, DirecTV and Rainbow Media are taking a quieter tack, presumably moving toward a renewal accord.
The multiyear distribution contracts for Rainbow Media's national services AMC, We TV, IFC and Fuse conclude with DirecTV on Dec. 31, as do the deals for regional sports networks MSG and MSG Plus. The negotiations are also said to include the Sundance Channel, which Rainbow acquired last year, and Wedding Central, the spin-off of the women's-targeted We service..
Officials at the distributor and programmer issued similar marks, suggesting that a new pact could be in the offing.
"We continue to have productive discussions and are working to finalize an agreement," said officials at Rainbow and MSG.
For his part, a DirecTV spokesman noted: "We continue to have productive discussions and are working to finalize a deal."
The bundled negotiations with DirecTV come as Rainbow and MSG parent Cablevision is poised to spin off the latter into its own business. The MSG unit includes the Madison Square Garden arena; professional sports teams the New York Knicks, Rangers and Liberty; theater venues Radio City Music Hall, The Beacon Theater and the Chicago Theater; the music channel Fuse; and its regional MSG Networks sports channels.
Cablevision's original plan called for the transaction to be finalized by year-end. However, the company earlier this month said the spin would now occur sometime in the first quarter.