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Al Jazeera America, DirecTV Settle Legal Fight, Renew Carriage Deal

Al Jazeera America has struck a new carriage agreement with DirecTV after coming to terms on a lawsuit that DirecTV filed agains the all-news cabler last year.

The agreement calls for DirecTV to carry the soon-to-launch Al Jazeera America HD channel.

“We’re pleased to extend our partnership with DirecTV,” said Al Anstey, CEO of Al Jazeera America. “Al Jazeera America is committed to its mission of delivering in-depth, unbiased and trusted journalism of the highest quality. I look forward to continuing to work together to grow our audience and deliver more compelling news and remarkable stories that inform, educate and inspire audiences across America.”

DirecTV sued Al Jazeera last year, claiming the cabler had violated the terms of its previous carriage agreement, which originated under Al Jazeera America predecessor channel Current, by offering lower carriage fees to other distributors than it had to DirecTV. According to DirecTV, that was a violation of the “favored nations” clause in the contract assuring that no distributor would have a lower per-subscriber fee than DirecTV.

DirecTV also challenged Al Jazeera on the fact that the channel’s content changed significantly after Current was transformed into the news network in August 2013.

The DirecTV legal battle was a factor in former Current owner Al Gore’s move to file lawsuit against Al Jazeera for withholding millions in an escrow fund , because of the loss if revenue from the DirecTV dispute. Gore’s suit is still pending.

It was a tough spring for Al Jazeera America, as the news organization suffered from significant staff turnover. Antsey was named CEO in May, replacing Ehab Al Shihabi, who had come under fire internally amid reports of tensions and mismanagement behind the scenes at the network.

DirecTV is the nation’s second-largest MVPD behind Comcast, with 20.4 million U.S. subscribers. AT&T completed its $48 billion acquisition of the satcaster in July.

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