AT&T Ends Two Month Feud With Nexstar, With Affiliates Returning to DirecTV, AT&T TV NOW, & AT&T U-Verse
In early July, 120 Nexstar-owned local affiliates went dark on DIRECTV NOW (now AT&T TV NOW), DirecTV, and AT&T U-Verse. This was the result of a dispute between AT&T and the largest local station owner Nexstar — which are feuding over retransmission fees — which is the amount AT&T pays to carry the locals. Today, AT&T and Nexstar, which currently owns ~120 local stations in 97 markets, reached a deal to bring the channels back to AT&T TV NOW, DirecTV, and AT&T U-Verse.
Some of the larger confirmed channels returning to AT&T are WKRN (ABC) in Nashville, KXAN (NBC) in Austin, and KLAS (CBS) in Las Vegas. While all of the affiliates were lost from DirecTV, only a subset of the channels were affected on AT&T TV NOW because many of them were not yet carried by the streaming service.
Other markets affected by the Nexstar dispute that will now return to AT&T are Albuquerque, NM (KRQE), Birmingham, AL (WIAT), Buffalo, NY (WIVB), Columbus, GA (WRBL), Ft. Wayne, ID (WANE), Greenville-Spartanburg, S.C (WSPA), Greenville, NC (WNCT), Hattiesburg, MS (WHLT), Jackson, MS (WJTV), Mobile, AL (WKRG), Myrtle Beach, SC (WBTW), Providence, RI (WPRI), Rapid City, SD (KLCO), Sioux Falls, SD (KELO), and Tri-Cities, TN (WJHL).
The deal comes after a similar blackout with CBS, which returned after a 3 week blackout on the service. The service recently renegotiated deals with Viacom and A+E, while dropping NFL Network.
On last month’s conference call AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said, “Nexstar as you know, basically their product is broadcast the four big broadcast stations — free over-the-air content I might add — their opening bid of the negotiation was 100% increase.” While Stephenson says they’re are now asking for a 50% increase, he says that the company is “going to have to be resolute on that one, we’re not going to impose those type of price increases on our customers.” So while terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, it appears that Nexstar and AT&T reached a deal that was worth ending the two-month blackout.