ENGLEWOOD, Colo., Dec. 2, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Nexstar Media Group today forced the largest broadcast affiliate station blackout in TV history, rejecting DISH's calls for a contract extension and taking away local programming from nearly 5.4 million DISH subscribers.
"We made a fair offer to keep Nexstar stations available to our customers, but Nexstar rejected it," said Brian Neylon, Group President, DISH TV. "Earlier today, we offered to extend the current contract and hold subscribers harmless while negotiations continue — once at 11:53am MST and again at 3:11pm MST — but Nexstar never responded. We don't understand why Nexstar insists on prioritizing greed above American viewers, many of whom rely on local programming for their news and entertainment, especially during this global pandemic."
In recent years, Nexstar went on a $12 billion local broadcast station buying spree to become the largest and most powerful station owner in the country. Now that Nexstar is the biggest in the industry, it is strong-arming companies like DISH to pay outrageous rates and force unprecedented increases onto customers. In its latest move, the broadcaster has blacked out its stations from DISH customers to gain negotiation leverage in an effort to line its wallet with viewers' hard-earned money — a tactic it used last year against DirecTV and AT&T U-verse.
"Nexstar is demanding over $1 billion in fees for stations that are available for free over the air," added Neylon. "This shocking increase is the largest we have ever seen. While we work to keep subscribers' TV bills as low as possible, Nexstar has no problem passing the buck on to American consumers. It has turned its back on its public interest obligation and is demanding significantly more money for the same programming."
Nexstar is also forcing DISH to carry WGN America as part of this deal, a channel that has experienced declining viewership in recent years. Nexstar acquired this channel when it bought Tribune last year. Now, the broadcast owner is looking to DISH customers to pay back this investment. Nexstar is demanding a significant payment for this low-rated channel that airs syndicated reruns found on other DISH stations and features a news program that can be accessed for free online.
"We have been working tirelessly to come to a deal that is fair for DISH, Nexstar, and most importantly, our subscribers, but Nexstar is only interested in increasing its own wealth," said Neylon. "We will not sit by and accept Nexstar's unreasonable demands. We will continue fighting on behalf of our customers to come to a deal that is beneficial for all."
Nexstar Media Group's action affects viewers of various ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC stations in 120 markets across 42 states and the District of Columbia, as well as viewers of WGN America in all markets. For a full list of affected stations, click here.
DISH customers can visit DISHPromise.com for the most updated information.
DISH Network Corporation is a connectivity company. Since 1980, it has served as a disruptive force, driving innovation and value on behalf of consumers. Through its subsidiaries, the company provides television entertainment and award-winning technology to millions of customers with its satellite DISH TV and streaming SLING TV services. In 2020, the company became a nationwide U.S. wireless carrier through the acquisition of Boost Mobile. DISH continues to innovate in wireless, building the nation's first cloud-native, Open RAN-based 5G broadband network. DISH Network Corporation (NASDAQ: DISH) is a Fortune 250 company.
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SOURCE DISH Network Corporation