Gray Television on Wednesday said it reached “an agreement in principle” with the NBC Network to extend and renew all of its NBC affiliates.
This comes as Gray’s previous agreement with Comcast-owned NBC was set to expire at the end of the year.
The new deal throws a lifeline to Gray’s NBC-affiliated stations which operate in 56 markets. Without it, the affiliates would’ve lost NBC News and primetime programming and gone dark when the contract expired on December 31.
Cable TV blackouts aren’t new, but experts think they’ll become more common in the future as more people move away from cable to streaming services.
TV viewers have seen an increasing number of blackouts of local ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC affiliates. This is often the result of the growth of cord cutting along with local stations demanding more money from cable TV providers.
To date, Gray’s television stations service 113 markets that reach about 36% of U.S. television households. The multimedia company also owns video program companies Raycom Sports, Tupelo Media Group, and PowerNation Studios, as well as studio production facilities Assembly Atlanta and Third Rail Studios. Gray also owns a majority interest in Swirl Films.