DIRECTV vs Nexstar Everything We Know About This Ugly Contract Fight & Will ABC, CBS, FOX, & NBC Will Return To DIRECTV, DIRECTV STREAM, & U-verse





Back in July 2023, DIRECTV, U-verse, and DIRECTV STREAM subscribers lost Nexstar-owned ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC affiliates, along with CW stations owned by Nexstar. At the time, Nexstar said DIRECTV rejected Nexstar’s offer to extend the current distribution agreement to Oct. 31, 2023, to give both sides more time to negotiate. 

In total, 159 Nexstar-owned local TV stations are now dark on DIRECTV, DIRECTV STREAM, and U-Verse. NewsNation and The CW have also gone dark on DIRECTV.

So what exactly is happing with this fight? It’s an ugly one, and from the looks of it as both sides are fighting it out at the contract table, with the FCC, and even in court. So here is everything we know right now.

Where are the talks right now?

Both sides have said they are committed to making a deal work, but their actions say they are likely far from getting a deal done. Right now, both sides seem happy to publicly fight this out in court and with the FCC.

What is happening with the FCC and the DIRECTV vs Nexstar fight?

Both sides have asked the FCC to get involved in this case.

Recently DIRECTV filed a complaint with the FCC saying Nexstar is blocking its ability to offer The CW in markets owned by Sinclair, according to a copy of the letter DIRECTV sent to Cord Cutters News. Now Nexstar has filed a letter to the FCC replying to DIRECTV’s claims.

At issue here are rights to The CW programming that is airing on locals not owned by Sinclair. DIRECTV says Nexstar is fighting to block their access to this content even when it is not on their own networks.

In Nexstar’s letter to the FCC, they say DIRECTV’s letter to the FCC is part of its “continuing campaign to disparage Nexstar and challenge the Congressionally mandated retransmission consent rights of all broadcasters.”

Nexstar went on to say, “DIRECTV mischaracterizes the circumstances around its unlawful carriage of CW programming on its streaming platform. As DIRECTV is well aware, its agreement with The CW authorizing streaming of CW programming on DIRECTV’s vMVPD service expired in November 2022,” Nexstar went on to say. “As a sophisticated industry participant, DIRECTV knew that Sinclair could not authorize it to stream CW programs in the absence of a CW network agreement. Nonetheless, DIRECTV STREAM continued to stream CW programming without the appropriate copyright license for the next eight months, until The CW became aware of the infringement and took steps to cause it to stop, as is its legal right.”.

In a statement sent to us by DIRECTV they pushed back on this argument. “As we stated in the letter, Nexstar’s behavior underscores the widely adopted position that the Commission should not extend the retransmission consent regime to online providers. DIRECTV was carrying those CWs through our valid agreement with that station group, an agreement that pre-dated Nexstar’s acquisition of the national CW network.”

For now, the FCC seems to be staying out of the fight and is treating this case, at least right now, as a private matter. That could change at any time but for now, the FCC seems unwilling to force a deal on the companies.

You can read more about this in our original story HERE.

What is happening with the lawsuits between DIRECTV and Nexstar?

Recently DIRECTV announced in a statement sent to Cord Cutters News announced that the Supreme Court of New York had agreed with them in their case against Nexstar.

At issue here is that Nexstar renewed a contract with DIRECTV to include WHAG-TV even though Nexstar knew it would soon lose its NBC affiliate. This caused DIRECTV to overpay for a TV station that was no longer one of the big four affiliates. DIRECTV argued that Nexstar failed to notify them that they would be losing that NBC affiliate.

Now the Supreme Court of New York has ordered Nexstar to repay DIRECTV millions with interest for their overpayment for WHAG-TV.

This is not the only lawsuit DIRECTV is a part of against Nexstar. 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.

“Mission and White Knight are now unlawfully coordinating with Nexstar to raise prices and extract supracompetitive retransmission consent fees from DIRECTV in ‘overlap’ DMAs—those markets where both Nexstar and either Mission or White Knight each own a Big-4 station,” DIRECTV states. “To accomplish this unlawful and anticompetitive aim, Mission and White Knight have entered into an agreement in which they have effectively relinquished decision-making authority to Nexstar.”

DIRECTV said in its suit that the trio routinely share confidential rates and other financial information through a single agent who can’t keep the details of one contract straight from another, closely align their respective blackout dates, and duplicate their public responses to the media to manipulate viewers and betray the public trust once they unilaterally pull their station signals.

A Nexstar spokesman sent Cord Cutters News the following statement. “Nexstar’s shared services agreements with White Knight and Mission Broadcasting are in full compliance with FCC rules, and each station group independently negotiations its own retransmission consent agreements with its cable, satellite, and telco partners.  This lawsuit is without merit and Nexstar looks forward to prevailing in court.”

You can learn more about this in our original story HERE.

So where does this leave DIRECTV vs Nexstar right now?

A lot of what you see above is not unusual for contract fights like this. However, it seems to suggest that a deal is not coming soon for the companies. Stranger things have happened, but for now, it seems both DIRECTV and Nexstar are digging in and are ready for a long fight.

The good news is that DIRECTV has announced that customers affected by the blackout will receive a one-time $10 credit. Sadly it’s a on-time credit but it’s better than nothing.

If you have not claimed your credit, you should do it soon, as once the channels come back, you will no longer be able to claim your credit.

The catch is DIRECTV, U-Verse TV, and DIRECTV STREAM customers have to apply for the one-time credit as it will not be automatically included. If you are a DIRECTV STREAM customer, you can find how to request your $10 refund HERE. DIRECTV and U-Verse TV customers can get their refund by going HERE.

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