AT&T this week set two new carriage agreements, one a renewal with a premium network, and one that ends a prolonged standoff with a local broadcast television group.
AT&T and Nexstar Media reached a new multi-year retransmission consent agreement that ends an eight-week standoff between the companies that took down Nexstar signals from AT&T TV services, including DirecTV, AT&T TV and U-verse. The deal covers Nexstar-owned network affiliated and local broadcast stations in 97 markets across the United States.
Financial terms were not disclosed, but the companies in a news release did say they “regret the inconvenience incurred by customers, viewers and advertisers, and we thank them for their patience, as the new agreement was being finalized.”
While AT&T and Nexstar appear to have made up, the companies did exchange some words during the dispute. Nexstar accused AT&T of declining an unconditional extension of the existing distribution agreement.
"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.
AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said during his company’s most recent earnings call that Nexstar opened negotiations by asking for a 100% increase, and was looking to include assets that they are looking to acquire, but don’t own yet. Nexstar is currently working toward a $6.4 billion acquisition of Tribune Media.
Shortly after hammering out its new deal with Nexstar, AT&T also announced a new carriage agreement with Starz, which will make the full lineup of Starz and Starz Encore linear channels, on-demand content and online services to customers of AT&T's DirecTV, AT&T TV and U-verse video platforms.