Q. I saw your update on DIRECTV and Tegna, but what about Dish and Nexstar? Can you tell us what’s new with that? I want my KTLA back! — Penelope, Pasadena, California.
Penelope, as you know, Dish on December 2 lost 164 Nexstar-owned local TV stations (and WGN America) in a fight over how much Dish should pay to carry their signals. For Dish subscribers, the blackout has become standard fare with the satcaster missing 223 channels due to eight different carriage disputes.
Since the Nexstar battle began, Dish and the broadcaster have continued to blame the other for the blackout in dueling videos posted online.
Nexstar has accused Dish of triggering the fee fight on purpose to save money, noting that the satcaster has been involved in numerous channel disputes over the last few years. (Dish does not have to pay Nexstar during the blackout.) Dish has responded that refusing to meet Nexstar’s demands (and the initial demands of other programmers) enables it to offer lower prices than its rivals.
The videos are designed to win support with viewers who will then presumably pressure one or the other to settle. Of course, it’s debatable that they are effective, but you can expect to see more before this fight is resolved.
And when will that be?
As I have said before, I don’t expect this dispute to end soon. Dish does have a history of engaging in long blackouts and the prospect of paying any increase in fees for 164 local TV stations will undoubtedly encourage it to wait this one out, too. It could be months before it’s settled.
The TV Answer Man will continue to monitor this fight and report back here if and when anything changes.
Until then, happy viewing, and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann