DIRECTV STREAM & DIRECTV subscribers lose Nexstar-owned ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC stations as the two companies battle over fees

Today, DIRECTV and DIRECTV STREAM subscribers have lost Nexstar-owned ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC affiliates, along with Nexstar-owned CW stations. The stations went dark at 7:00 PM Eastern. Nexstar says DIRECTV rejected Nexstar’s offer to extend the current distribution agreement through Oct. 31, 2023, to give both sides more time to negotiate.

A total of 159 Nexstar-owned local TV stations are now dark on DIRECTV, DIRECTV STREAM and U-Verse. NewsNation has also gone dark on DIRECTV.

This comes as Nexstar warned customers late last week that their stations could go dark on DIRECTV and DIRECTV STREAM. Nexstar is the largest broadcaster in the United States of local television programming. Now, Millions will be without any of its local stations on DIRECTV, U-verse and DIRECTV STREAM.

DIRECTV has accused Nexstar of asking for unjustified price increases in a statement sent to Cord Cutters News. “Nexstar has a long history of forcing programming breaks in an effort to unnecessarily raise prices for everyone at the expense of the communities they are licensed and trusted to serve,”[ads1]; said Rob Thun, DIRECTV Chief Content Officer. “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 programs while protecting them from unjustified price increases.”

In a statement to Cord Cutters News, Nexstar insisted that they are only looking for a fair price. “Nexstar has been negotiating tirelessly and in good faith in an effort to reach a mutually acceptable multi-year contract with DIRECTV since May, offering the same fair market rates that it offered to other distribution partners with whom it completed successful negotiations over the past year. Nexstar routinely enters into amicable retransmission and carriage agreements with its cable, satellite and telecommunications partners – in the last three years alone, the company has successfully completed agreements with more than 500 distribution partners.”

Earlier this year, DIRECTV announced that it has sued one of its largest ownersrs by local TV stations, Nexstar, along with Mission and White Knight for what they call illegal collusion. The lawsuit was filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York.

At issue here are DIRECTV’s allegations that “America’s largest broadcaster Nexstar Media Group continues to violate federal antitrust law by engaging in an illegal conspiracy with Mission Broadcasting and White Knight Broadcasting to manipulate, raise and fix the prices of retransmission consent fees”

DIRECTV says Nexstars’ action “threatens local television as we know it today.” At the heart of the matter here is an attempt to push up the costs of local TV. DIRECTV says that over the past 15 years, the cost of local TV has increased by 5,000%. Now they argue that these three companies are working together to drive the price even higher.

In the lawsuit, DIRECTV accuses Nexstar of suing a “sham sidecar deal” with the Mission and White Knight stations to circumvent FCC ownership.

“Mission and White Knight are now illegally coordinating with Nexstar to raise prices and extract supra-competitive retransmission consent fees from DIRECTV in ‘overlapping’ DMAs – those markets where both Nexstar and either Mission or White Knight each own a Big-4 station ,” states DIRECTV . “To achieve this illegal and anticompetitive goal, Mission and White Knight have entered into an agreement effectively ceding decision-making authority to Nexstar.”

DIRECTV said in its suit that the trio routinely share confidential pricing and other financial information through a single agent who cannot keep the details of one contract straight from another, closely align their respective blackout dates and duplicate their public responses to the media to manipulate viewers and betray the public trust when they unilaterally pull their station signals.

A Nexstar spokesperson sent Cord Cutters News the following statement. “Nexstar’s shared services agreements with White Knight and Mission Broadcasting are in full compliance with FCC rules, and each station group independently negotiates its own retransmission consent agreements with its cable, satellite and telecommunications partners. This lawsuit is without merit, and Nexstar looking forward to winning in court.”

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