By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man –@tvanswerman
TV Answer Man, I read your story on DIRECTV saying Nexstar is dragging its feet and Nexstar saying it’s all DIRECTV’s fault. What is going on here? Why are they yelling at each other instead of settling this thing?! We’ve had enough of not having our CBS station here!! — Wendy, Raleigh, North Carolina.
Wendy, the DIRECTV-Nexstar carriage battle got more heated over the weekend when DIRECTV on Friday publicly accused the broadcaster of dragging its feet in the negotiations and holding its channels ‘hostage’ to get more money. Nexstar responded on Saturday that DIRECTV is being purposely misleading and is only interested in “maximizing their profits, not serving their subscribers.”
Companies embroiled in carriage disputes often engage in a war of words, but the shots usually come at the beginning of the fight, not when they are close to a settlement. The fact that DIRECTV and Nexstar rolled up their sleeves and threw their best Sunday punch six weeks after the blackout began is not good news for customers hoping for an imminent settlement. In fact, one industry source tells The TV Answer Man that the two companies recently met at DIRECTV headquarters to discuss a deal but came away as far apart as ever.
I will reiterate that it’s unlikely we will see a settlement until the NFL regular season nears. (The season starts on September 7). Both companies need Nexstar’s stations on DIRECTV for the NFL — Nexstar needs the ratings, advertising dollars; DIRECTV needs happy subscribers — and it will take that to unlock this logjam.
(For those not familiar with this fee fight, DIRECTV 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.)
Wendy, hope that helps. Happy viewing and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann