Tribune Co.'s planned $2.73 billion acquisition of 19 local TV stations is part of a major consolidation trend across the broadcast and cable industries. Charter Communications' reported interest in Time Warner Cable is the biggest potential deal on the distributor side. "The cable guys have got to get bigger to push back on programming costs and the broadcasters have to get bigger to push forward on retransmission-consent fees," said Jeffrey Marcus, a Charter board member and cable-industry vet. "It's really the same strategy that both industries are having to execute."

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