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DirecTV Hopeful for Retrans Reform

With the Federal Communications Commission expected to discuss retransmission consent reform at its scheduled March 3 open meeting, DirecTV chairman and CEO Mike White told analysts Wednesday he is hopeful change will come.

DirecTV completed about 39 retransmission consent deals in 2010 - one negotiation, with Northwest Broadcasting, is ongoing - and faces another 80-plus negotiations this year. On a conference call with analysts to discuss fourth quarter results, White said that while he doesn't expect any material changes for at least one year, he is hopeful that progress will be made.

"The best thing the FCC can do is add some transparency to the process," White said. "There is no price discovery. There is no ability to know what the real market is, so you can't even ensure you're paying market [prices]. It's a screwy process."

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