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DirecTV, WWFE Part Ways

DirecTV Inc.'s one-month pay-per-view truce with World Wrestling Federation
Entertainment Inc. ended Tuesday with WWFE's announcement that it will no longer
offer its PPV programming to the direct-broadcast satellite service.

Citing an inability to reach a new contract deal, WWFE said it will prohibit
DirecTV from exhibiting future PPV events beginning with its Oct. 21 No
show. DirecTV represents about 15 percent of WWFE's PPV-event

While neither side would reveal specifics of the dispute, sources said it
revolves around a disagreement over license-fee splits. Sources said DirecTV
wants to receive an undisclosed 'middleman' fee from WWFE -- similar to what
cable PPV network In Demand L.L.C. receives -- for distributing the company's
popular live professional-wrestling and other related WWFE events.

Last month, WWFE threatened to pull its Sept. 23 Unforgiven event from
DirecTV over the same issue, but the two sides reached an 11th-hour
distribution deal for that event.

Calling WWFE's decision 'irrational,' DirecTV senior vice president of
programming acquisitions Michael Thornton said WWFE turned down a recent
proposal that would have provided the company with a revenue split that was
'more favorable' than what it gets from the cable industry.

But WWFE president and chief operating officer Stuart Snyder called DirecTV's
proposal 'worse' than the distributor's previous deal, adding that WWFE is
simply asking for a 'fair split' in the revenues.

'We reached a philosophical difference concerning the [revenue] split and,
therefore, could not come to an agreement,' Snyder said.

R. Thomas Umstead
R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.