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AT & T / DIRECTV blacks out local TV stations after rejection Nexstar offers to extend access



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IRVING,
Texas, July 4, 2019 – Effective 11:59 pm local time on July 3, direct
broadcast satellite service provider DIRECTV and AT&T U-verse unilaterally dropped
the network and local community programming for over 120 stations impacting consumers
and viewers in 97 markets across the United States. The action follows DIRECTV's refusal to accept
an offer of an unconditional extension of the existing distribution agreement
to August 2 to allow the stations' owner, Nexstar Broadcasting Group, Inc. ("Nexstar")
and DIRECTV / AT & T to reach a new agreement allowing the direct broadcast
satellite service provider (as well as AT&T's fresh systems and its' subscription
streaming television service, DIRECTV NOW)
highly rated programming.

With
Its long-term record of delivering exemplary service to the local markets where
it operates, Nexstar deeply regrets DIRECTV / AT & T's rejection of the
extension as it deprives viewers in the affected markets of broadcasts of leading
network content from ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, CW, and MyNetworkTV as well as local
news and other programming produced for these local communities.
Viewers affected by loss of service from DIRECTV have several alternatives
to continue watching their favorite shows, including local cable providers,
DISH, over-the-air, certain subscription streaming television services, and
services such as Verizon's FIOS.

The
development is highly unusual for Nexstar but more common for DIRECTV / AT & T. Nexstar has established a long-term record of
completing hundreds of agreements with multichannel video programming
distributors (“MVPDs” or cable TV, satellite TV, telecom companies)
carriage of its television stations and is proud that it has never been
23-year history had a service interruption related to distribution agreements
of the magnitude of the AT & T / DIRECTV interruption. In contrast, DIRECTV is routinely involved in
disputes with content providers and following its 2015 acquisition by AT&T
has dropped or threatened to black out network and local community programming
from DISH Network, Viacom, SJL Broadcasting / Lilly Broadcasting, and others. Between
May 30, 2019 and June 10, 2019 alone, viewers of at least 20 other non-Nexstar stations
(owned by Deerfield Media, GoCom Media of Illinois, Howard Stirk Holdings,
Mercury Broadcast Group, MPS Media, Nashville License Holdings, Roberts Media,
Second Generation of Iowa and Wait Broadcasting) lost access to network and
local content as a result AT & T / DIRECTV's refusal to accept fair market
rates for the distribution of leading non-AT & T programming. Notably, in addition to its ownership of
DIRECTV, the nation's largest direct broadcast satellite service provider
2018 AT&T Acquired Time Warner including global media and
entertainment giants Warner Bros., HBO, Turner and CNN.

Nexstar
has been negotiating in good faith to establish a mutually agreeable contract
with DIRECTV. Significantly, Nexstar has offered DIRECTV the same rates it
offered to other large distribution partners with whom it completed successful negotiations
with in 2019 to date. While Nexstar
believed progress was made in the negotiations, DIRECTV misled Nexstar as
it requested that viewers not be informed about the pending expiration as long
As negotiations were continuing to be constructive. Yet, with minutes to go before the prior
agreement was to expire, DIRECTV / AT & T did not accept Nexstar's offer for an
extension which would have allowed viewers in the affected markets to view
their favorite network shows, special events, sports, local news and other
Programming on the Fourth of July and until such time as a new agreement can be
Reached. A little more than a year after putting DIRECTV together with Time
Warner, AT&T appears intent on using its new market power to prioritize it
own content at the expense of consumers, and insisting on unreasonable and
extreme terms that are totally inconsistent with the market. In January,
AT&T raised prices on DIRECTV and in April it increased through a price increase
for its streaming subscription service, DIRECTV NOW.

Nexstar
remains eager to complete an agreement with DIRECTV consistent with those it
has made with every other cable, satellite and telco provider in order to end
DIRECTV's action is both unnecessary and punitive to its subscribers. In this regard, in the time leading up to the
expiration of the agreement with DIRECTV / AT & T, Nexstar not only offered
extension until August 2, it also offered DIRECTV / AT & T
its availability "over the next 30 days to meet with you in-person on the
following dates: July 12, 13, 14, 15,
23, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30 as if August 1 and 2 add, “We are willing to
Dedicate as many of these dates as needed.
Not knowing when you and your decision makers are available, to avoid
any disruption in service to your customers and our viewers in 97 markets
across the country, we propose an extension of the current agreement through
Friday August 2nd. ”This is the
customary process when negotiating for distribution rights are not completed
when the current agreement expires. The only conclusion that can be drawn from
DIRECTV / AT & T refuses to accept Nexstar's offer of an extension is that rather
than working on behalf of their subscribers, AT & T-DIRECTV continues to
Raising prices while offering channels and content offerings.

Nexstar
is highly committed to consistently elevating the level of service provided
Local communities in the markets serve across the United States by making meaningful
capital investments to expand local news, lifestyle, sports, weather and other
programming and enhancing station infrastructure, production resources and
technologies. Nexstar regrets that DIRECTV
is willing to keep its paying subscribers hostage because it won't agree to
Fair and reasonable terms for viewers' favorite programming.

Consumers
and viewers affected by DIRECTV / AT & T's blackout can contact DIRECTV / AT & T
direct at 208 South Akard Street, Dallas, TX 75202 and by phone at 855-567-1569
or 210-821-4105.


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