By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man – @tvanswerman
TV Answer Man, we are happy to get our Fox station back but can you explain why it took them two months? Why do this temporary deal now when it seems to me that they could have done this at the beginning. — Phyllis, Akron, Ohio.
Phyllis, DIRECTV and Nexstar yesterday issued a statement saying they have signed a temporary carriage deal to return the Nexstar-owned 159 local stations, and NewsNation, to the lineup of DIRECTV, DIRECTV Stream and U-verse. The companies did not reveal the terms of the temporary deal, such as the length, but they say they are continuing to work to sign a long-term contract.
Since the announcement, I’ve received several e-mails from readers inquiring why the companies waited until now to sign a temporary agreement. The blackout had lasted for 10 weeks. Couldn’t they have agreed to let DIRECTV subscribers watch their Nexstar channels from the start while negotiations continued? What’s different about now? Two things.
1. The companies are close to finalizing a deal.
DIRECTV and Nexstar were far apart on July 2 when the blackout began, but they appear close to signing a multi-year agreement now. Nexstar is allowing DIRECTV to return the stations because it’s confident that there will be no need to remove them again. (It should be noted, however, that Nexstar has said it previously offered DIRECTV an extension in the old agreement until the end of October, but DIRECTV rejected it because the short-term pact would end in the middle of the NFL season. The satcaster thought that would give Nexstar an unfair advantage in negotiations.)
2. The NFL is in week two.
In 2019, the last time the two companies had a carriage dispute, they settled roughly a week before the start of the NFL season. So it’s not a coincidence that they agreed to the temporary settlement this time on the morning of week two of this NFL season. Both DIRECTV and Nexstar need those local stations in the satcaster’s lineup during NFL games for subscriber retention and ratings respectively. The only surprise here is that it took until week two. It’s also not a coincidence that Charter’s Spectrum TV and Disney recently settled their carriage fight hours before a high-profile NFL Monday Night Football game.
Phyllis, hope that helps. Happy viewing and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann