For months now, there has been a very ugly fight between DIRECTV owned services, including DIRECTV STREAM and Nexstar. With this deal, Nexstar, the largest owner of ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC locals has pulled its locals from DIRECTV. Now though there are a few hopeful signs that a deal will soon be reached between the two companies.
For months now both sides have publicly and with the FCC fought over the blackout. Now though things have gotten quiet and both sides are being more careful with what they say. This is often a sign that a deal is close to being reached.
“For the first month of so of the blackout, there wasn’t a lot of movement going on,” said Tom Carter, who in August announced he was stepping down as president and chief operating officer and is now senior advisor to the CEO at Nexstar. “We’ve been in constant contact the last several weeks and progress has been made.”
Carter, who spoke at an investor conference hosted by Bank of America, said “the expectation is we’ll reach an agreement at some point, sooner rather than later.”
Earlier this year, DIRECTV announced it has sued one of the largest owners of local television stations, Nexstar, along with Mission and White Knight for what it calls illegal collusion. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. 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 prices of retransmission consent fees”
In the lawsuit, DIRECTV accuses Nexstar of suing a “sham sidecar agreements” with Mission and White Knight stations to go around FCC ownership caps.
Right now we will have to wait and see what happens. For now, from the outside, it looks like progress is being made but the question now is can the two sides come to an agreement that will end this long fight. A fight that has left customers without their locals.