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Local TV viewers can again turn to local channels

Local TV viewers can again turn to local channels

Nexstar, AT&T reach deal to restore NBC and CBS stations to Fresno area market for DirecTV, U-verse customers

@TheSunGazette

FRESNO – Tulare County satellite and cable viewers can watch local NBC and CBS news, regional sports and their favorite television shows again thanks to a recent deal between the company that owns their local stations and company that provide those stations with content. 

On Aug. 29, Nexstar Media Group, which owns KSEE24 and CBS47 in Fresno, reached a multi-year agreement with AT&T, which owns DirecTV satellite service and U-verse cable TV service, to restore the two television networks for customers in 97 television markets across the United States.  

“Our customers want more choice and value and we are pleased to deliver that through this new agreement with Nexstar and its many local stations,” said Rob Thun, Senior Vice President of Content and Programming, AT&T Communications.

DirecTV and U-verse customers in the Fresno area, including Tulare County, as well as 120 stations across the country, lost access to the NBC and CBS affiliated stations on July 3. During the blackout, DirecTV/AT&T customers were unable to watch NBC or CBS programming, as well as the local news these stations provide. As a result, there are less avenues for viewers to find news that’s important to them. Nexstar pointed out that subscribers in Bakersfield were unable to receive local Nexstar televised news updates, in both English and Spanish, regarding the large earthquake and its aftershocks that rocked the South Valley on July 5.

“Nexstar’s long-standing commitment is to provide exceptional programming and service to the local communities we serve across the United States and this new multi-year agreement will allow us to continue delivering our stations’ leading network and sports content as well as local news and other programming to AT&T subscribers in our markets,” stated Keith Hopkins, Senior Vice President, Distribution, Nexstar Media Group, Inc.

Nexstar claimed the dispute began brewing in January when AT&T raised prices on DirecTV, and in April it put through a price increase for its streaming subscription service, DirecTV Now. Since its acquisition of Time Warner in 2018 – which includes global media and entertainment giants Warner Bros., HBO, Turner and CNN – Nexstar claimed AT&T was throwing its weight around as the telecom giant is 50 times larger than Nexstar and the size disparity is even greater relative to the other broadcasters that AT&T has currently blacked out.

AT&T stated it had tried to negotiate since Nexstar removed its stations on July 3 but that Nexstar kept moving the date. The telecommunication giant claimed Nexstar was using the blackout as a ploy to double its retransmission fees.

“AT&T and Nexstar regret the inconvenience incurred by customers, viewers and advertisers, and we thank them for their patience, as the new agreement was being finalized,” the companies said in a joint release last week.

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