Nexstar Media Group television stations in 120 markets and 42 states, as well as WGN America across the country, have sunk into the Dish Network platform after days of negotiations between the companies failed to make a deal.
A total of 164 stations are offline. In 2019, Nexstar became the largest owner of local stations in the United States when it acquired Tribune Media. WGN America also changed hands in this deal.
About 5.4 million Dish customers are affected by the carriage’s impasse. Nexstar’s portfolio now includes leading markets such as LA, Chicago and New York, as well as dozens of other cities. Dish has about 9 million traditional satellite subscribers and another 2.5 million in its Sling TV pay-TV package.
As the shipping deadline approaches, Nexstar sets WGN America with YouTube TV
“Dish refuses to reach a new distribution agreement that allows satellite TV the right to continue broadcasting Nexstar’s highly rated programs,” Nexstar said in a statement after the dead end at 19:00 ET.
“We made a fair offer to keep Nexstar stations available to our customers, but Nexstar turned it down,” said Brian Nylon, president of the group, Dish TV. “Earlier today, we proposed to extend the current contract and keep subscribers safe while negotiations continue … but Nexstar never responded. We don’t understand why Nexstar insists on prioritizing greed over American viewers, many of whom rely on local programs for their news and entertainment, especially during this global pandemic. “
Neylon also said Nexstar “required” more than $ 1 billion to charge for stations that are available for free over the air. In past situations involving broadcasting sites, such as the impasse for Univision in 2019, Dish provides antennas to customers, allowing them to receive programs without Dish equipment.
“This shocking increase is the biggest we’ve ever seen,” Nylon added. “Although we work to keep subscribers’ TV accounts as low as possible, Nexstar has no problem transferring money to US consumers. He has shifted his public interest obligation and wants significantly more money for the same programming. “
In a statement, Nexstar said: “Dish continues to offer tariffs that are lower than the fair market value of the broadcast network and local market content broadcast by Nexstar TV stations. Dish also continues to exclude WGN America from its offerings. As Dish’s proposals are not at all in line with the reality of current market prices, Nexstar has no choice but to reject any extension of this agreement. “
Tensions between the parties, aimed at a deadline on Wednesday night, surfaced last week, with finger-pointing and name-calling common in transportation disputes.
A Nexstar spokesman told Deadline on Tuesday that talks were continuing and “we remain hoping to reach a friendly deal at fair market prices, just like with all other major satellite, cable and telecommunications providers.”
Nexstar announced a distribution deal Tuesday with YouTube TV for WGN America, expanding its reach to about 75 million U.S. homes. Once known for prestigious dramas such as Underground, the network turned to news. Its prime slot during the week is occupied by NewsNation, a block whose goal is to directly present the stories of the day, in a time interval known for the rates for CNN, Fox News and MSNBC.
Dish has long been firmly involved in distribution negotiations. It recently parted ways with major content providers such as Sinclair-run regional sports networks and HBO. In a statement released on Thanksgiving Day, the company called Nexstar a “broadcasting giant” aimed at “using its market power to demand unreasonable tariff increases by deliberately using millions of Americans as pawns in its negotiations.”
The company’s position on transportation negotiations has been further strengthened by the management of President Charlie Ergen, a longtime satellite player in the telecommunications business. After Dish acquired significant spectrum holdings in recent years, it became the No. 4 wireless player in the United States after acquiring assets sold by Sprint and T-Mobile when the two companies merged earlier this year.
The Texas-based Nexstar paid $ 4.1 billion for the Tribune. The deal limited a series of deals that elevated the company to No. 1 among all groups of stations, a remarkable rise for a company that began in 1996 with a radio station in Scranton, Pennsylvania.