Fios Removes Nexstar TV Stations from 10 Markets

Nexstar
(Image credit: Nexstar)

At midnight on Friday night, Verizon Fios removed  from its lineup 13 TV stations owned by Nexstar Media in 10 markets including New York City, Philadelphia, Providence, and Buffalo, impacting more than 2.3 million subscribers in the latest battle over carriage fees. It also removed Nexstar’s national cable news network, NewsNation,  

The two companies had warned subscribers earlier last week with Fios claiming that Nexstar was demanding a 64% increase in fees. At issue is the extension of a contract for Fios to carry Nexstar stations and comes during the height of several sports seasons including the NFL, college football and the MLB post-season.

Fios accused Nexstar of not putting its subscribers first.

"Unfortunately, Nexstar has a reputation for this type of practice with providers, which ultimately results in viewers losing out on their content," Verizon said. "We are disappointed that Nexstar was unwilling to enter into a fair agreement, leaving Verizon customers without access to programming that they value. It’s time for our leaders at the FCC and in Congress to protect consumers by holding them – and other broadcasters who frequently use this tactic – accountable. We will continue to work hard to put our customers first and come to a fair agreement with Nexstar on their behalf."

The FCC requires broadcasters and cable operators to negotiate in good faith, but has been reluctant to step in at the behest of either side of such impasses when they claim the other side is guilty of bad faith.

In response, Nexstar said it “has been negotiating tirelessly and in good faith in an attempt to reach a mutually agreeable multi-year contract with Verizon FiOS, offering the same fair market rates it offered to other large distribution partners with whom it completed successful negotiations in earlier this year.  Nexstar routinely reaches amicable retransmission and carriage agreements with its cable, satellite, and telco partners—in the last three years alone, the company has successfully completed agreements with more than 500 distribution partners.”

Fios had a similar dispute with Tegna earlier this year. 

A recent analysis from SP Global based on MediaCensus video subscriber estimates predicts that such a disruption cost Nexstar between $118.1 million to $173.6 million annually.

Tom has covered the broadcast technology market for the past 25 years, including three years handling member communications for the National Association of Broadcasters followed by a year as editor of Video Technology News and DTV Business executive newsletters for Phillips Publishing. In 1999 he launched digitalbroadcasting.com for internet B2B portal Verticalnet. He is also a charter member of the CTA's Academy of Digital TV Pioneers. Since 2001, he has been editor-in-chief of TV Tech (www.tvtech.com), the leading source of news and information on broadcast and related media technology and is a frequent contributor and moderator to the brand’s Tech Leadership events.