DirecTV and DirecTV Stream have lost access to NewsNation and more than 150 local TV stations owned by Nexstar. According to DirecTV, this is only a temporary situation, although it currently remains to be seen if and when the dispute will end.
The possibility of a channel blackout became clear earlier this week when a number of Nexstar Stations started issuing warnings that DirecTV might drop the channels. At the time, there was no firm information on when the channels could be lost, just that there was the possibility.
As of 7 p.m. on Sunday night, those channels have been dropped from DirecTV and DirecTV Stream. According to DirecTV, Nexstar “is forcing the temporary loss of more than 200 stations for DIRECTV, DIRECTV STREAM and U-verse customers in more than 100 metro areas following the recent contract expiration.”
The announcement confirms that the blackout affects DirecTV, DirecTV Stream, and U-verse, and has resulted in the loss of Nexstar-controlled ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX and CW stations in select markets, as well as NewsNation.
DirecTV alleges that Nexstar has demanded “more than double the previous fees for the same content.” At the same time, DirecTV took the opportunity to suggest there is a declining value in the channels Nexstar owns and operates.
“These demands come at a time when, according to the FCC, pay TV viewers are already paying an estimated $200 annually for local station programming designed to be free over-the-air. Additionally, ratings for broadcast networks have continued plummeting 46% in total viewers since 2010, and Nexstar itself has acknowledged that the major networks have shifted key live sports and other popular programs online, making many of Nexstar’s top-rated shows and events less valuable.”
In its own announcement, Nexstar stated That it had been “negotiating tirelessly and in good faith in an attempt to reach a mutually agreeable multi-year contract with DIRECTV since May.” In addition, Nexstar also stated that DirecTV rejected an offer to extend the current agreement until Oct. 31.
Naturally, Nexstar also had a very different take on the importance of the dropped channels.
“Following DIRECTV’s actions, subscribers in 113 Nexstar markets including Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Denver, have lost access to thousands of hours of vitally important local news, just as the summer storm season is raging. In addition, as a result of DIRECTV’s actions, subscribers will not be able to view Women’s World Cup Soccer, British Open golf, LIV Golf, MLB’s All-Star Game, and all of the entertainment programming provided by Nexstar’s network partners, CBS, FOX, NBC, ABC, The CW and MyNet.”
Nexstar also warned that, “If the interruption in service continues for a protracted period of time, DIRECTV subscribers are at risk of losing access to pre-season NFL Football, and perhaps the opening games of the 2023-24 football season.”
Both companies did independently suggest that they will continue to work towards a solution that results in the return of the lost channels to DirecTV and DirecTV Stream. However, neither provided any sense of a timeline on when that might happen.