FRESNO, California (KSEE/KGPE) – A contract dispute between DirecTV/AT&T and Nexstar Media Group has led to 97 local TV stations being taken off the air on DirecTV/AT&T.
“Effective 11:59 p.m. local time on July 3, direct broadcast satellite service provider DIRECTV and AT&T U-verse unilaterally dropped the network and local community programming for over 120 stations impacting consumers and viewers in 97 markets across the United States,” Nexstar said in a press release.
“Nexstar remains eager to complete an agreement with DirecTV consistent with those it has made with every other cable, satellite and telco provider in order to end DirecTV’s action that is both unnecessary and punitive to its subscribers. In this regard, in the time leading up to the expiration of the agreement with DirecTV/AT&T, Nexstar not only offered an extension until August 2, it also offered DirecTV /AT&T its availability ‘over the next 30 days to meet with you in-person on the following dates: July 12, 13, 14, 15, 23, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30 as well as August 1 and 2’ adding, ‘We are willing to dedicate as many of these dates as needed. Not knowing when you and your decision makers are available, to avoid any disruption in service to your customers and our viewers in 97 markets across the country, we propose an extension of the current agreement through Friday August 2nd,'” Nexstar said in its press release Thursday.
During the blackout, DirecTV/AT&T customers won’t be able to watch NBC or CBS programming, as well as the local news these stations provide.
As a result, there are less avenues for viewers to find news that’s important to them.
For example, Nexstar said, as a result of AT&T/DIRECTV’s actions, AT&T/DIRECTV subscribers in Bakersfield were unable to receive local Nexstar televised news updates, in both English and Spanish, regarding the large earthquake there.
In January, AT&T raised prices on DirecTV, and in April it put through a price increase for its streaming subscription service, DirecTV NOW, Nexstar said.
Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal has issued a letter urging DirecTV and AT&T U-verse to immediately restore carriage of Nexstar-owned stations in his state.
In the letter dated July 5, Blumenthal acknowledged that local consumers “value Connecticut-based journalism and broadcasting” and strongly urges AT&T/DIRECTV to “immediately provide carriage of WTNH and WCTX through at least Aug. 2, 2019 as requested by Nexstar” which would provide both parties time to come to an agreement “without barring AT&T/DirecTV consumers from viewing their local news coverage.”
Consumers and viewers affected by DirecTV/AT&T’s blackout can contact DirecTV/AT&T directly at 208 South Akard Street, Dallas, TX 75202 and by phone at 855-567-1569 or 210-821-4105, Nexstar said.