By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man –@tvanswerman
DIRECTV late this afternoon issued a statement charging Nexstar with ‘dragging its feet’ in their negotiations to secure a new carriage agreement to end a six-week dispute between the companies. The TV provider lost the 159 Nexstar-owned local stations on July 2 when the old carriage agreement expired. (The blackout also affects DIRECTV Stream and U-verse.) In today’s statement, posted on DIRECTV’s Insider page, DIRECTV says Nexstar is holding the 159 stations “hostage” while it seeks to “double the rate” that it previously charged.

“Since our contract expired in early July, Nexstar has made little movement on its end while DIRECTV continues to make substantial offers to try to find middle ground with the goal of returning local news and sports programming to our affected customers as quickly as possible and at the right value,” DIRECTV says in the statement.

Update, August 19: Nexstar issues this counter statement: “Once again, DIRECTV is misleading its subscribers, as they have done consistently throughout this impasse.  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.” 

DIRECTV says it has asked Nexstar to extend the old agreement until February 2024 while negotiations continue for a long-term pact. But Nexstar has only agreed to a temporary extension until October 31, DIRECTV says. The satcaster says it has rejected that offer because it would fall in the middle of the NFL season.

“To best serve our customers, while we negotiate, we continue to seek an extension through February 2024, which would allow DIRECTV customers to continue to watch Nexstar-owned stations while guaranteeing Nexstar payment at the new higher contract rates upon a deal. Unfortunately, Nexstar is fixated on an extension set to expire on Oct. 31, which risks another outage in the middle of the college and NFL football seasons, not to mention giving them maximum leverage to drive the highest renewal rates,” DIRECTV says.

Since the blackout began, DIRECTV has offered a one-time $10 credit to affected subscribers. “Nexstar’s greed could impact some upcoming hometown games, and DIRECTV is offering affected customers relief for this temporary inconvenience,” the satcaster states.

DIRECTV urges affected viewers to consider using antennas or watch select programming from the networks on streaming services such as Peacock and Paramount+.

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— Phillip Swann