AT&T Feud Means Nexstar Affiliates Pulled From DirecTV, DIRECTV NOW, & AT&T U-Verse
Last night, some DIRECTV NOW, DirecTV, and AT&T U-Verse customers lost local affiliates from their service. This is 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. Nexstar, which currently owns ~175 local stations, and will become the largest local broadcaster after their purchase of Tribune, is a major blow for AT&T customers.
Some of the larger confirmed channels affected were WKRN (ABC) in Nashville, KXAN (NBC) in Austin, and KLAS (CBS) in Las Vegas.
AT&T shared the following message on the lost stations:
While all of the affiliates were lost from DirecTV, only a subset of the channels were affected on DIRECTV NOW because many of them were not yet carried by the streaming service. This is the fourth major carriage dispute for AT&T in as many months — including with smaller station owners Northwest Broadcasting, Deerfield Media, Roberts Media, Second Generation of Iowa, GoCom Media, MPS Media, Howard Stirk Holding, and Waitt Broadcasting. The service recently renegotiated deals with Viacom and A+E, while dropping NFL Network.
It is unlikely that the channels will disappear forever, but it is not unheard for local channel disputes to last multiple months. Last year, PlayStation Vue and Sinclair Media Group were in an extended battle that saw many locals dropped from the service, only to return a few months later.