The blocking of the Nexstar TV channel on DirecTV ends after 76 days

The blocking of the Nexstar TV channel on DirecTV ends after 76 days

Television giants DirecTV and Nexstar Media Group made progress in sales talks and have agreed to restore Nexstar stations’ signals to the homes of DirecTV customers – ending a bitter blackout that lasted 76 days.

The nationwide blackout of 159 Nexstar-owned stations – including ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and CW network affiliates – affected DirecTV products, including satellite television service U-verse and DirecTV Stream. Nexstar’s KTLA-TV Channel 5 was also affected by the outage that began July 2 for DirecTV and U-verse customers.

The two companies announced the truce early Sunday as they faced the prospect of angry football fans looking forward to the second weekend of the NFL season.

Thousands of football viewers in Indianapolis were afraid they would miss their Colts game against the Houston Texans on Fox. In Fresno and Buffalo, NY, some viewers would not have had access to CBS coverage of the Buffalo Bills-Las Vegas Raiders game. And some fans in Sacramento, San Diego and Honolulu would have missed watching the Rams play the San Francisco 49ers in Los Angeles on Fox affiliates.

“In recognition and recognition of the continued patience of DirecTV customers and Nexstar viewers, the companies have agreed to temporarily return the signals of Nexstar-owned television stations and national cable news network NewsNation to DirecTV, DirecTV Stream and U-verse while we both.” “We are working to fulfill the terms of an agreement,” the two companies said in a statement on Sunday.

Nexstar, based in Irving, Texas, is the largest television broadcasting group in the country. Nearly five years ago, the company acquired Tribune Media’s portfolio of stations, including KTLA and WGN.

Cable news channel NewsNation was also part of the outage, as were about 30 television stations managed by Nexstar but owned by Mission Broadcasting and White Knight Broadcasting.

In July, DirecTV was forced to remove the Nexstar channels, as well as DirecTV Stream and U-verse, from its satellite television service because the El Segundo-based company no longer had legal permission to rebroadcast the Nexstar stations’ signals. DirecTV crews worked Sunday to restore signals after Nexstar gave its permission.

The move comes less than a week after Walt Disney Co. and Charter Communications reached a new agreement that would end a high-profile 10-day blackout of Disney channels, including ESPN and KABC-TV Channel 7 in Los Angeles, on Charter Spectrum television Service is terminated. This blackout interrupted broadcasts of the US Open tennis championships and college football on ESPN to millions of fans.

Channel blackouts have become increasingly common in recent years as television networks such as DirecTV, Charter Spectrum, Cox Cable and Comcasts

DirecTV and other pay-TV providers have lost millions of customers to cord-cutting over the last decade and don’t want to encourage more subscribers to flee.

“The video ecosystem is broken,” Charter Communications CEO Christopher Winfrey told analysts earlier this month.

Xavier Smith, Los Angeles Rams wide receiver (Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

The truce will allow DirecTV customers in some cities to watch the Los Angeles Rams, including wide receiver Xavier Smith (19), play the San Francisco 49ers on Fox.

(Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times)

Those concerns led Charter to initially push back against Disney’s fee increases during distribution deal negotiations late last month.

That Spectrum blackout — which affected millions of customers in New York and Los Angeles — was resolved after Disney compromised and allowed Charter to remove eight Disney cable channels, including Freeform, from its lineup.

Television network owners including Nexstar are demanding fee increases as the cost of programming – particularly NFL football and other sports – skyrockets. In addition, program providers are struggling with falling ratings and a lower penetration of pay-TV channels, which leads to lower income for the channels. The television advertising market also showed signs of weakness.

Television ratings are down almost 50% compared to last year.

The difficult economic situation led Disney Chairman Bob Iger to suggest that Disney might sell its ABC television network and its own networks.

Late last week, news outlets including The Times reported that Disney had received preliminary interest from potential buyers, including Nexstar.

Disney tried to quell speculation that it was close to a deal.

“While we are open to considering various strategic options for our linear businesses, the Walt Disney Co. has not made a decision at this time regarding the divestiture of ABC or other properties,” Disney said in a statement Thursday.

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