NATION'S LARGEST LOCAL TV OUTAGE BEGINS AFTER NEXSTAR DEMANDS MORE THAN DOUBLE THE CURRENT VIEWER FEES FROM DIRECTV
EL SEGUNDO, Calif., July 2, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- The nation's largest local broadcaster, Nexstar Media Group, is forcing the temporary loss of more than 200 stations for DIRECTV, DIRECTV STREAM and U-verse customers in more than 100 metro areas following the recent contract expiration. After denying Nexstar's demands for DIRECTV to pay more than double the previous fees for the same content, DIRECTV lost the rights to offer Nexstar-controlled ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX and CW stations in select markets, as well as NewsNation.
Since the end of 2022 alone, Nexstar has threatened or removed stations it owns or controls from DIRECTV (Oct. 2022), Verizon FIOS (Oct. 2022), Comcast Xfinity (Dec. 2022), DISH Network (Jan. 2023), FuboTV (Feb.-March 2023) and Altice USA-Optimum (March 2023).
"Nexstar has a long track record of forcing programming outages in an effort to unnecessarily raise prices for everyone at the expense of the communities they are licensed and entrusted to serve," said Rob Thun, chief content officer of DIRECTV. "We will continue to work with Nexstar to reach an agreement and will take all necessary actions to provide our customers access to their favorite programming while protecting them from unwarranted price increases."
Nexstar owns or controls many different combinations of multiple ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX affiliates serving the same communities across 36 different metro regions. Nexstar continues to manipulate loopholes to exceed the 39% national ownership cap, and has made public statements lauding its 68% reach across all U.S. TV households. That means viewers in many metro areas will temporarily lose several local broadcast stations at the sametime. What's more, Nexstar also seeks to force the CW and less popular channels into DIRECTV lineups, which would only increase costs for customers.
These demands come at a time when, according to the FCC, pay TV viewers are already paying an estimated $200 annually for local station programming designed to be free over-the-air. Additionally, ratings for broadcast networks have continued plummeting 46% in total viewers since 2010, and Nexstar itself has acknowledged that the major networks have shifted key live sports and other popular programs online, making many of Nexstar's top-rated shows and events less valuable.
Nexstar has additionally been withholding 27 stations that it controls but does not own from Mission and White Knight Broadcasting across 23 of these very same metro areas from DIRECTV, DIRECTV STREAM, and U-verse homes since mid-October of last year. On March 15 DIRECTV filed an antitrust suit in federal court, and on June 30 DIRECTV filed a legal complaint with the FCC, describing how Nexstar and its sham sidecars are conspiring to manipulate the cost of retransmission consent to American consumers.
While DIRECTV continues negotiations to return Nexstar programming to DIRECTV, DIRECTV STREAM and U-verse, customers can access much of the news, sports and entertainment programming on both local station and national network websites and apps, streaming services, and over-the-air.
Ongoing information and status updates are available at www.tvpromise.com.
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