Public Television Announces Agreement with DIRECTV, Inc. for Expansion and Continuation of Service on DIRECTV

Posted by PBS Publicity on

Combination of local and national service ensures public television is available to virtually all DIRECTV subscribers

Washington, DC, December 20, 2001 - The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and the Association of Public Television Stations (APTS) have entered into an agreement with DIRECTV, Inc. for continued carriage of public television programming on DIRECTV, the nation's leading digital satellite television service. Through a combined local -into-local and national service arrangement, the multi-year agreement ensures public television programming is available to virtually all DIRECTV subscribers.

DIRECTV currently delivers local commercial broadcast networks in 41 metropolitan markets and provides the national PBS feed to its customers who subscribe to a local channel package. By year-end, DIRECTV will replace the national PBS feed with local public television stations in all 41 markets and DIRECTV customers in those markets who subscribe to their local channel package will receive their local PBS station(s). The agreement also provides for the continued carriage of the PBS national service in all other markets, subject to the consent of the stations serving those markets.

"We are committed to ensuring that local public television stations' valuable programming and education services reach all Americans through every form of distribution," said Pat Mitchell, PBS President and CEO. "This groundbreaking agreement, which calls for a combination of local station and national service, guarantees that virtually every DIRECTV subscriber has access to our programming. We applaud DIRECTV for making this important commitment to serving the public interest."

"This agreement is a major step for ensuring that locally-controlled public television stations will be available to as many communities as possible," said John Lawson, President and CEO of APTS. "This agreement means that DIRECTV subscribers can count on receiving public television's valuable programming and services. This is a triple win for DIRECTV, for public television, but most importantly for the American public."

"With access to their local PBS station, our customers in our local channel markets will have access to programming that is most relevant to their lives," said Stephanie Campbell, senior vice president, Programming, DIRECTV, Inc. "Our customers expect DIRECTV to continue to provide them with compelling and quality programming, and PBS more than meets that criteria."

As part of the multi-year agreement, DIRECTV will continue to carry the PBS national service in non-local-into-local markets subject to the consent of the stations serving those markets. DIRECTV currently has the right to carry this service under a statutory license provided by the Satellite Home Viewers Improvement Act of 1999 (SHVIA), but this license ends December 31, 2001. The new agreement would permit DIRECTV to continue to carry the feed in areas where it is not carrying local broadcast signals until such time as DIRECTV begins providing a local broadcast package which would include the local public television station(s).

PBS is a private, nonprofit media enterprise owned and operated by the nation's public television stations. PBS uses the power of noncommercial television, the Internet and other media to enrich the lives of all Americans through high quality programs and education services that inform, inspire and delight. Two additional PBS services, PBS KIDS® and PBS YOU (a lifelong learning channel), are also available to DIRECTV subscribers. More information on the PBS national satellite service will be available at PBS.org/satellite as of Dec. 21.

APTS is a nonprofit corporation whose members are the nation's public television stations. It represents stations' interests before Congress, the FCC, the White House, the Departments of Commerce and Education, and other federal agencies. APTS also provides planning, research and communications support to member stations. Visit our Website at www.apts.org.

DIRECTV is the nation's leading digital satellite television service provider with more than 10.3 million customers. DIRECTV and the Cyclone Design logo are trademarks of DIRECTV, Inc., a unit of Hughes Electronics Corporation. FREEVIEW is a registered trademark of Hughes Electronics Corporation and is used with permission. HUGHES is the world's leading provider of digital television entertainment, broadband services, satellite-based private business networks, and global video and data broadcasting. The earnings of HUGHES, a unit of General Motors Corporation, are used to calculate the earnings per share attributable to the General Motors Class H common stock (NYSE: GMH). Visit DIRECTV on the World Wide Web at DIRECTV.com.


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