By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man – @tvanswerman
TV Answer Man, we don’t have our Fox station because of the fight with the owner and DIRECTV. We have tried to watch games on the Fox Sports app but we have gotten blacked out there, too! My question is why?! Did Nexstar tell Fox not to let us watch because of DIRECTV? Can you ask them, please?!! — Courtney, San Diego.
Courtney, DIRECTV on July 2 lost 159 Nexstar-owned local stations due to a fee fight between the companies. The satcaster, and its sister services, U-verse and DIRECTV Stream, have been without the affiliates for ABC, Fox, NBC, Fox and The CW since then and there’s no sign of an imminent settlement. Making matters worse, DIRECTV subscribers in Nexstar markets report that they have not been able to use their DIRECTV/U-verse user names and passwords to access the networks’ ‘TV Anywhere’ apps (Fox Sports, NBC Sports, etc.) to watch live national feeds.
The frustration escalated over the weekend when NBC broadcast the first Notre Dame college football game of the year when the Fighting Irish played Navy in Dublin, Ireland. Not only couldn’t DIRECTV subs in Nexstar markets watch the game on their local NBC affiliates, the national 4K feed on DIRECTV was blacked out as well. A DIRECTV spokesman told The TV Answer Man early Friday that the national 4K feed would be available in Nexstar markets. But late Friday, he contacted us again with bad news: “I stand corrected. Unfortunately, due to contractual obligations, DIRECTV is not permitted to show the Notre Dame-Navy game this weekend in 4K in Nexstar markets where the NBC affiliate is currently unavailable.”
What’s going on here? Has Nexstar asked the networks to help them squeeze DIRECTV by preventing its Nexstar subscribers from watching national feeds on the TV Anywhere apps and the 4K feed? On Saturday, we asked a Nexstar spokeswoman. Her response: “No, we did not request any such hold back. What the networks do with their apps is between them and (DIRECTV).” The spokeswoman added that the Notre Dame 4K feed should have been available to DIRECTV subscribers “but it is out of Nexstar’s jurisdiction.”
We have asked DIRECTV for a comment but have not received a response as of this writing. But Nexstar is saying unequivocally that it’s not responsible for preventing DIRECTV customers from watching national apps and feeds. We will update this story if we get a DIRECTV response and/or more information.
Update, Monday, August 28: DIRECTV issued the following statement:
“This is all news to us. Station groups often exert pressure on national networks to limit access to national feeds during disputes to further penalize viewers as a negotiating tactic. Even more troubling is when a station group like Nexstar also owns a national network, including the CW feed, and forces another station group, like Sinclair, to block access to content that was negotiated independently between the station group and DIRECTV and prior to Nexstar’s acquisition of the CW.”
Courtney, hope that helps. Happy viewing and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann