Did you wake up this morning to find your local ABC, CBS, FOX, or NBC affiliate dark? Right now AT&T and Nexstar are in a fight over fees. This fight has resulted in AT&T removing most Nexstar owned locals from DIRECTV NOW, DIRECTV, and U-Verse TV,
Blackouts like this are not new and the channels will likely return but we do not know when. Did your local ABC, CBS, FOX, or NBC local go dark? Leave us a comment and let us know what locals went dark so we can start to build an accurate list.
Update: Nexstar recently posted this statement online about the outage:
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 that 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 an 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 well as August 1 and 2” adding, “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 negotiations for distribution rights are not completed when the current agreement expires. The only conclusion that can be drawn from DIRECTV/AT&T’s refusal to accept Nexstar’s offer of an extension is that rather than working on behalf of their subscribers, AT&T-DIRECTV continues to raise prices while reducing channels and content offerings.
Update #2: AT&T has sent Cord Cutters News the following statement:
We had hoped to prevent Nexstar from pulling its stations from our customers’ lineups and we offered Nexstar more money to keep them available. Nexstar simply said no and elected to remove them instead. Nexstar has chosen to hold our customers hostage and put them into the center of its negotiations. This is the same old Nexstar playbook. They pull or threaten to pull their signals from customers of many distributors to increase fees for “free TV” stations that far exceed their value. They’ve done it to Cox Cable, DISH and Charter Spectrum and now to us.
The Big Four broadcast network content aired by many of these stations has collectively lost about half its primetime audience over the past five years. Despite this viewership decline, Nexstar is now demanding the largest increase AT&T has ever seen proposed by any content provider. In addition, Nexstar wants much higher payments for stations and a low-rated cable network they don’t own, as well as carriage commitments and still more fees for channels that don’t even exist.
By making these types of demands, Nexstar is reducing consumer choice. This behavior should not be rewarded by allowing Nexstar to become the largest broadcaster in America through its proposed acquisition of Tribune Broadcasting’s 42 local stations.
AT&T remains on the side of customer choice and value. Our goal is always to deliver the content our customers want at a value that makes sense to them. Nexstar is only on the side of gouging their affiliates and consumers for free over-the-air stations that are viewed less and less each day.
Viewers can watch their local station over the air and often online at the station website. Broadcast networks typically stream primetime series at their network websites and to fans using their mobile apps. We’ve always fought hard on our customers’ behalf and that’s why we are fighting for them again here. We regret any inconvenience Nexstar has caused and appreciate our customers’ patience. These types of dispute are often resolved quickly, and we hope that will be the case here as well.
The good news is that DIRECTV NOW started to add more ABC, CBS, FOX, & NBC local affiliates. As best we can tell DIRECTV NOW has started to add more local affiliates owned by Sinclair, and E. W. Scripps Company. Thanks to a tip from a reader we can confirm that ABC 23 KERO and FOX58 KBFX was added today to DIRECTV NOW.
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