By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man – @tvanswerman
TV Answer Man, you wrote that satellite has more channel blackout fights than cable. But what about Nexstar? Don’t they have more of these fights than any other local broadcaster? — Terry, Kansas City.
Terry, you’re right. We recently published an article suggesting that the two major satellite TV providers, Dish and DIRECTV, suffer more carriage blackouts than other pay TV services such as cable and the telco TV ops. You can read the article here. DIRECTV is now without roughly 200 local stations due to fee fights with Nexstar, White Knight and Mission Broadcasting while Dish is missing about 40 locals because of scraps with Cox Media and Mission/White Knight.
But you could also make the case that Nexstar, which owns 159 local stations and NewsNation, has been involved in more blackouts than any other broadcaster. The company is currently in the dispute with DIRECTV, but in December 2020 it forced Dish to remove its channels for about a month. In October 2022, Verizon subscribers lost the Nexstar stations for two weeks in a fee fight. In December 2022, it threatened to remove the channels from Comcast before the two sides settled shortly before the midnight hour. In the summer of 2019, Nexstar forced DIRECTV to remove the channels for seven weeks in a separate dispute. And the company this year was even embroiled in a one-month blackout with a small Hawaiian telcom.
It’s fair to say that all broadcasters these days are more inclined to play hardball in carriage talks as they seek to maintain profits in a streaming world. But Nexstar does seem more inclined than most to allow a dispute to result in a blackout. When you couple that with DIRECTV’s recent history with Nexstar, which has included lawsuits and FCC complaints, it’s hard to see the DIRECTV-Nexstar battle ending soon, at least not before the 2023 NFL regular season starts on September 7.
Terry, hope that helps. Happy viewing and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann