AT&T declines deal to keep local channels on DirecTV, U-verse, Nexstar claims

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The AT&T-Nexstar carriage dispute affects more than 120 broadcast television stations. (Getty/FS-Stock)

AT&T is embroiled in a massive carriage dispute and broadcast channel blackout with Nexstar Media, which said that AT&T declined its offer for a carriage extension.

Last week, AT&T’s pay TV services including DirecTV, DirecTV Now and U-verse, lost more than 120 stations available to consumers and viewers in 97 markets across the United States. The blackouts came after AT&T and Nexstar failed to reach a new retransmission consent agreement for the channels.

Nexstar said it offered an unconditional extension of the existing distribution agreement until August 2 but AT&T declined.

"Contrary to AT&T’s public statements, Nexstar in no way pulled its stations or asked for their removal from AT&T/DirecTV’s DirecTV, U-verse or DirecTV Now platforms. Nexstar is also reiterating its offer of an unconditional extension of the existing distribution agreement for 30 days to restore the blacked-out programming to viewers and allow the parties to reach a new agreement,” Nexstar said in a statement issued Friday.

RELATED: AT&T backs free broadcast TV service Locast with $500K donation

AT&T said that it offered Nexstar more money to keep the channels available, but that the broadcast group declined.

“Nexstar simply said no, and elected to remove them instead. Nexstar has chosen to hold our customers hostage and put them into the center of its negotiations. This is the same old Nexstar playbook. They pull or threaten to pull their signals from customers of many distributors to increase fees for “free TV” stations that far exceed their value. They’ve done it to Cox Cable, DISH and Charter Spectrum and now to us,” AT&T said in a statement.

Perhaps not coincidentally, the dust-up between AT&T and Nexstar comes just one week after AT&T invested $500,000 in Locast, a free service that offers streaming access to local broadcast channels. In a news release, AT&T said that the donation is meant to support Locast’s “mission to make free broadcast content available to consumers and offer them more choice.”

About one month prior to the investment, AT&T announced that it is integrating Locast’s service into its pay TV platforms.