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NBCUniversal and DirecTV near new distribution deal

Stars of NBC's "The Voice."
(NBC)

Comcast Corp.'s NBCUniversal is wrapping up a new distribution deal with satellite broadcaster DirecTV, people close to the talks said.

For NBCUniversal, parent of broadcast networks NBC and Telemundo as well as cable channels CNBC, Bravo, USA and MSNBC, among others, the agreement is the latest in a slew of new distribution contracts with the nation’s largest pay-TV providers. Earlier this month, NBCUniversal reached a similar accord with Cablevision Systems Corp., the New York-based cable operator that has over 3 million subscribers.

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With almost 20 million subscribers, DirecTV is the nation’s second-largest pay-TV distributor behind Comcast. DirecTV also recently signed a new wide-ranging contract with CBS. It also recently reached an agreement with Time Warner Cable to carry TWC’s Los Angeles sports channels.

Not every NBCUniversal channel is part of the deal. Comcast SportsNet Houston, a regional sports channel, is not included as DirecTV was unable to come to terms on a price. Also not included is G4, the NBCUniversal cable channel aimed at young men that DirecTV stopped carrying in 2011.

It’s a good time for NBCUniversal to be negotiating with distributors as its broadcast network has shown significant ratings gains thanks to “The Voice” and the new drama “Revolution.” NBCUniversal Chief Executive Steve Burke said earlier this year that the network makes no money on so-called retransmission consent agreements. Reversing that is a top priority for Burke.

An announcement of the new pact could come as soon as later today.

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