By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man – @tvanswerman
TV Answer Man, do you see the DIRECTV blackout with the Nexstar stations ending before the NFL season in September? We can hang in there until then but we are not missing the NFL no matter what. Please let us know what you think. — Matt, Charlotte
Matt, as you know, DIRECTV and DIRECTV Stream lost 159 Nexstar-owned local channels more than three weeks ago due to a fight over carriage fees. The blackout includes network affiliates for ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and The CW. You can see a station list here. (This also affects U-verse.)
Since the dispute began, there have been a flurry of charges with both sides accusing the other of everything from breaking the law to putting profits ahead of the viewers. This should not be surprising since the companies have a long history of bad blood including lawsuits, past blackouts and complaints filed with the Federal Communications Commission.
Companies often engage in a war of words during carriage disputes to generate support among the viewers. But this battle almost seems personal as if DIRECTV and Nexstar executives have just had enough of each other.
Consequently, it’s difficult to envision a scenario where this blackout ends anytime soon. And it might take the opening of the NFL season in September to force both companies to find common ground. DIRECTV can’t afford to have so many viewers of Fox, CBS and NBC miss even a single NFL game while Nexstar is equally dependent on the NFL’s broadcasts for ratings and advertising.
DIRECTV and Nexstar may hate each other but their economic interests become intertwined come September.
I am not predicting that this blackout won’t end until September but it’s not a bad bet.
Matt, hope that helps. Happy viewing and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann