DIRECTV and Nexstar are actually talking and making progress, but so far there’s been no deal to end a months-long blackout of 159 ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC local stations for DIRECTV subscribers.
“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. “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.”
The dispute between the two companies began in July, when the two companies failed to come to terms for a new distribution agreement. As a result, Nexstar’s local stations went dark on DIRECTV, DIRECTV STREAM and U-Verse, with millions of customers missing out on local programming for the last two and a half months. These comments offer a tiny glimmer of hope that some resolution will be reached.
The two sides still seem far apart. DirecTV has accused Nexstar of asking for unwarranted price increases, while Nexstar has said it just wants to get fair value for its content. The dispute has only gotten more bitter, with both sides blaming each other for the pain that subscribers are enduring. DIRECTV filed a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission, asking the agency to investigate Nexstar over the blackouts, and sued the company, alleging collusion with two other local broadcasting companies.
A spokesman for DIRECT confirmed talks were ongoing. “We remain in discussions and don’t have anything additional to share at this time,” he said.
The other high-profile dispute, between Disney and Charter, sprang up at the end of August but was already resolved on Monday.
Despite this dragging out, Carter said he understood the stakes involved.
“Everyone agrees it’s not in anyone’s best interest to alienate the consumer,” he said.