And just like that, viewers in more than 100 markets across the country lost access to more than 200 local stations as Nexstar, the nation’s largest local station owner, and DIRECTV found themselves at an impasse. On Sunday night, DIRECTV, DIRECTV STREAM and U-verse subscribers lost their Nexstar-owned ABC, CBS, CW, FOX, NBC and NewsNation stations due to a particularly bitter distribution dispute.
Last week, DIRECTV released a statement saying the outage was imminent and blamed Nexstar for charging double the group of stations’ previous fees to carry the channels. DIRECTV followed on Sunday, saying it was the seventh time in less than a year that Nexstar had threatened to remove channels from a cable or satellite provider or led to the shutdown of their stations on certain platforms.
“Nexstar has a long track record of forcing program interruptions in an effort to unnecessarily raise prices for everyone at the expense of the communities they are licensed and charged to serve,” said Rob Thun, chief content officer. from DIRECTV. “We will continue to work with Nexstar to reach an agreement and will take all necessary steps to provide our customers with access to their favorite programming while protecting them from unjustified price increases.”
In addition to blaming Nexstar for the channel’s disruption, DIRECTV also accuses the station’s owner of using underhanded practices to circumvent rules against monopolies. The satellite and streaming company says Nexstar is manipulating loopholes to allow it to “surpass the 39% national ownership cap” while also forcing 27 channels it manages, but does not own, to remain dark on channels. DIRECTV platforms since October. 2022. The dispute over these Mission and White Knight Broadcasting channels in 23 markets led DIRECTV to file a lawsuit against Nexstar in March.
For its part, the station group blames DIRECTV only, saying the company refused to extend the current deal for another four months, despite the fact that many other cable and streaming companies were able to reach an agreement. with the company in recent months.
“DIRECTV and Nexstar were unable to reach a new distribution agreement allowing the [sic] DIRECTV the right to continue to carry the highly rated programming on local Nexstar stations,” a company statement said. “Nexstar has been negotiating tirelessly and in good faith in an attempt to reach a mutually acceptable multi-year contract with DIRECTV since May, offering the same fair market rates it has offered to other distribution partners with whom it has successfully negotiated over the course of the past year. ”
Since the beginning of the year, Nexstar has entered into a new broadcast agreement with Hulu + Live TV, as well as placed local channels in many markets on YouTube TV, thanks to an agreement initially announced in March.
Both sides say they are ready to continue negotiating, but Nexstar is warning customers that the disagreement could result in them losing the ability to watch the MLB All-Star Game next week, the upcoming Women’s World Cup and potentially even the NFL and college football. if it drags on until the fall. The company also warns that it could prevent customers from watching critical local news and weather reports during hurricane, tornado and wildfire season. In a statement, DIRECTV advised subscribers to look to other news, sports and entertainment channels available on the platform, as well as streaming services and live channels, to fill in the gaps.
As the very public dispute appears to be increasingly contentious, it is in both parties’ interests to reach a resolution. However, if that happens, it will almost certainly mean that DIRECTV will be forced to pay more for Nexstar’s 200 channels than it already was, which will eventually – and inevitably – mean a higher monthly bill for customers.