Hundreds of Nexstar Stations Go Dark for AT&T Customers

IRVING, Texas—On July 3, more than 120 Nexstar Media Group TV stations went dark for AT&T/DirecTV customers throughout the country as a result of failed transmission negotiations. Both sides lay the blame at each other’s feet, though AT&T reportedly rejected an extension that would have kept the channels on air through Aug. 2.

Stations in 97 markets were impacted by the blackout, which began at 11:59 p.m. on July 3. The blackout impacted the ability of customers to watch Fourth of July celebrations and the U.S. Women’s National soccer team win the FIFA Women’s World Cup this past Sunday.

“Nexstar has been negotiating in good faith to establish a mutually agreeable contract with AT&T/DirecTV and has offered AT&T/DirecTV the same rates it offered to other large distribution partners with whom it completed successful negotiations with in 2019 to date,” Nexstar expressed in a statement. “Nexstar would like to continue to try to reach a fair agreement with AT&T/DirecTV and allows its viewers to receive their local stations again.”

AT&T, meanwhile, refutes Nexstar’s claim and says on its website that it is asking for an unfair value, while also arguing that Nexstar threatens to pull or does pull stations from other distributors frequently in negotiations.

“We had hoped to prevent Nexstar from removing its stations from your TV channel lineup,” AT&T’s website reads. “We even offered Nexstar more money to keep their stations available. However, Nexstar simply said no and chose to remove them instead. By doing so, Nexstar has put you in the center its negotiations.”

AT&T dealt with another large station blackout in late May, early June of 2019, as 17 stations in 14 markets went black while in negotiations with a group of stations.