By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man – @tvanswerman
TV Answer Man, we are tired of it. Sick and tired of it!!! What does DIRECTV say about us not having our NBC station? Are they even talking or do they simply not care about us? It’s been three months now!! — Rachel, Tampa.
Rachel, Tom Carter, a senior Nexstar advisor, expressed hope this week that a deal to end the 10-week carriage dispute with DIRECTV could be in the works. The satcaster, and its two sister services, DIRECTV Stream and U-verse, have been without the 159 Nexstar-owned local stations since July 2 when the old carriage agreement expired. Carter qualified his remarks before a Bank of America conference to say that Nexstar wouldn’t accept just any deal, but that “progress has been made” in the negotiations.
The TV Answer Man asked DIRECTV after Carter spoke to the conference whether it agreed that progress has been made. The company shied away from endorsing that characterization, saying “we remain in discussions and don’t have anything additional to share at this time.” But, 24 hours later, DIRECTV yesterday suddenly had a change in tune, releasing a statement saying “we’ve made significant progress in the negotiations to protect customers from unwarranted rate increases.” It’s as if DIRECTV on reflection decided it didn’t want Nexstar to be the only one saying ‘progress’ had been made, regardless of what kind.
But DIRECTV’s rosy ‘progress’ remark was accompanied with a few thorns. The company also said, “Unfortunately, one of the largest open issues is that Nexstar wants to force us to pay higher rates for several years for broadcast stations does not yet or may never own.” In other words, the companies are still fighting in public — or, at least, DIRECTV is fighting with Nexstar in public — which is never a good sign that a settlement is imminent. With college football games scheduled today, and week two of the NFL to take place tomorrow, DIRECTV subscribers in Nexstar markets can’t be very happy about the satcaster’s latest statement.
Rachel, we will keep monitoring this dispute until, and if, it ends. Until then, happy viewing and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann