Nexstar says DIRECTV isn’t being 100% forthright to customers about the state of the negotiations, countering a claim from the satellite TV provider that the nation’s largest television station owner is “holding local news and sports hostage.”
“Once again, DIRECTV is misleading its subscribers, as they have done consistently throughout this impasse,” Nexstar said in a statement sent to Cord Cutters News. “In July, Nexstar offered an extension of four months to DIRECTV while we continued to negotiate, which DIRECTV flatly rejected. In fact, for weeks following the expiration of our contract in early July, DIRECTV didn’t bother to negotiate or even talk with us. DIRECTV is managed by a hedge fund, not a local broadcaster. They are interested is maximizing their profits, not serving their subscribers. We are merely asking for fair rates, commensurate with what other MVPDs pay us for our highly valuable local news, live sports, and entertainment programming.”
On Friday, DIRECTV gave an update on the Nexstar blackouts that have seen 200 local TV stations in 116 metro areas go dark on DIRECTV, DIRECTV STREAM, and U-verse. “Nexstar continues to hold your local news and sports hostage since our expiration on July 2 to secure double the rates for the same programming that’s free over-the-air today,” according to DIRECTTV.
DIRECTV said it is asking Nexstar to bring the channels back its customers through February 2024 as talks continue. Nexstar reportedly is only offering an extension through October 31. In response, DIRECTV is now telling customers to buy an antenna or get a streaming service like Peacock and Paramount+ to watch sports.
DIRECTV in a statement to Cord Cutters News responded to these claims by saying:
Nexstar rejected our initial extension request, which we made prior to and since expiration, to run thru Feb. 2024. This would lead to minimum disruption, if any, for our customers and their viewers while allowing Nexstar to secure the yet to be agreed upon higher rates during the extension. Nexstar’s focus is solely on securing unwarranted rate increases through deal timing, not by adding more value for viewers through higher quality programming.
We rejected Nexstar’s counter to force a renewal during the middle of the football season on Oct. 31 because their past behavior of pulling programming with DISH in 2020 and again with Verizon in 2022. Denying programming during peak demand to extort exorbitant fees harms everyone, including Nexstar and its shareholders, all to cover their self-imposed financial pressures including a share price that has fallen 11% since their 2Q earnings.
This all comes as NFL season is almost here, and for local networks, it means some of their best ratings of the year. Now both sides seem very dedicated to fighting this contract fight publicly.
“DIRECTV remains committed to negotiating a mutually beneficial agreement with Nexstar, even as they signal to their shareholders that a deal is on the horizon while dragging their feet on negotiations and further harming the broadcaster, its investors, local stations, and viewers across the country,” a DIRECTV spokesperson said in a statement to Cord Cutters News.
For now, it looks like both sides are still very far away from reaching a deal as they take their fight public.