Signaling the next significant retransmission-related issue between cable operators and broadcasters, Nexstar Broadcasting said that it will black out nine of its network affiliates on Cox Communications if a new deal isn't carved out by Jan. 29.
The stations include affiliates for all four of the major broadcast networks. Las Vegas and Phoenix, Ariz., are the biggest markets affected, with Baton Rouge, La., Lafayette, La., Panama City, Fla., Roanoke, Va., Ft. Smith/Fayetville, Ark., and Joplin and Springfield, Mo., also impacted. Several of those stations, including Las Vegas' KLAS-TV, are affiliates for CBS, home of the 50th Super Bowl on Feb. 7.
"Viewers affected by the potential black-out have several alternatives to continue to watch their favorite shows including other local cable providers, Dish, DirectTV, over-the-air, and services including Verizon's FiOS and AT&T U-verse," a Nexstar statement said.
Earlier, Cox released this statement: "Cox is committed to keeping our customers connected to what they care about most and ensuring they receive the most value from any of our services. Nexstar Broadcasting Group is threatening to withhold its signals unless Cox agrees to pay three times the current rate. Cox has always been willing to continue providing significant compensation, but we feel three times the current rate is unreasonable. We appreciate your patience as we work to resolve this matter quickly."
Cox added that broadcasters "blacked out its local communities nearly 200 times in the past year alone, usually trying to get increased fees. In fact, this is the second time this month that stations owned or managed by Nexstar Broadcasting Group have targeted Cox customers for increased retransmission fees and now they are asking for even more money than the deal they accepted earlier this month."
Earlier this month, Nexstar blacked out several stations in the Southwest and Southeast on Cable One amid a separate retransmission-related dispute.
- read this Nexstar press release
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This article was updated on Jan. 26 to correct a quote in a Cox Communications statement. Broadcasters have blacked out local communities nearly 200 times, the company said.