Nexstar Stations Return to DirecTV Lineup Amid Progress in Contract Negotiations

After an 11-week blackout, Nexstar and DirecTV agreed to restore more than 150 Nexstar-owned local TV stations to the satcaster’s lineup amid progress in contract negotiations.

Nexstar and DirecTV released a joint statement early Sunday to disclose that the stations would begin returning to DirecTV’s channel menu, with a focus on NFL-heavy markets where Nexstar has CBS, NBC and Fox affiliates.

“In recognition and appreciation of the continued patience of DirecTV customers and Nexstar viewers, the companies have agreed to temporarily return the signals of the Nexstar-owned television stations and national cable news network NewsNation to DirecTV, DirecTV Stream, and U-verse while we both work to complete the terms of an agreement.”

The blackout began July 2 as Nexstar and DirecTV battled over contract terms for a new retransmission consent agreement for 159 stations in 113 markets. The fight marks one of the longest standoffs between a major broadcaster and pay TV distributor. It echoes many of the issues that were at stake in Disney’s recent public fight with Charter Spectrum over carriage terms for ESPN, ABC and other channels. The contract conflict with DirecTV was hard on Nexstar because the satellite-delivered service has national reach, unlike cable operators who operate in regional clusters.

The joint statement from Nexstar and DirecTV was a strong indication that a completed deal is coming soon. The final terms of the pact will be closely scrutinized by the industry as it will help set the financial parameters of a wave of retransmission consent negotiation pacts coming for the largest broadcasters and pay TV distributors.

Nexstar is the nation’s largest owner of TV stations. Satcaster DirecTV is the No. 3 traditional distributor, behind Comcast and Charter, serving 12.7 million subscribers across the country.

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