Some DirecTV and AT&T U-verse subscribers woke up Thursday to find they lost access to Nexstar stations.
More than 120 stations in 97 markets across the nation, which include ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC affiliate stations, went dark at 11:59 p.m. local time July 3 after Nexstar and AT&T were unable to reach an agreement, both sides said in competing statements that each blame the other for the blackout.
“Nexstar has removed its channels from your lineup even though we offered Nexstar more money to keep them available to you,” AT&T said in its statement posted at https://tvpromise.att.com. “Nexstar simply said no and elected to remove them from your lineups instead, putting you in the middle of its negotiations.”
According to Nexstar’s statement, AT&T “unilaterally dropped the network and local community programming” and refused to extend the existing distribution agreement to Aug. 2.
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Disputes between content providers and cable and satellite providers aren’t uncommon as companies try to negotiate new deals.
In its statement, Nexstar, also known as Nexstar Broadcasting Group, says it owns, operates, programs or provides sales and other services to 174 full power television stations and related digital multicast signals reaching 100 markets or nearly 39% of all U.S. television households.
“Nexstar remains eager to complete an agreement with DIRECTV consistent with those it has made with every other cable, satellite and telco provider in order to end DIRECTV’s action that is both unnecessary and punitive to its subscribers,” Nexstar’s statement said.
AT&T, which is the largest pay TV provider in the U.S., with 24.5 million subscribers, said it also is open to negotiating.
“We share your frustration and are working to return your local channels as soon as possible,” AT&T’s statement said. “These types of disputes are often resolved quickly, and we hope that will be the case this time.”
How to watch your shows
AT&T says subscribers who lost access have some options.
“Most of these stations can be viewed over the air or online at the station websites. You should be able to find station websites by searching online for the name of the local station,” AT&T said noting most major networks stream primetime series on websites and apps.
Nexstar offered additional options in its statement.
“Viewers affected by the loss of service from DIRECTV have several alternatives to continue watching their favorite shows including local cable providers, DISH, over-the-air, certain subscription streaming television services, and services such as Verizon’s FIOS,” Nexstar said.
Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko