Nexstar Media Group, the largest local broadcast station owner in the nation, is threatening to black out DISH customers’ access to 164 local channels in 120 markets across 42 states and the District of Columbia. The broadcast giant is trying to use its market power to demand unreasonable rate increases while intentionally using millions of Americans as pawns in their negotiations. This action by Nexstar would result in consumers being blacked out from the highest number of local broadcast stations in the nation’s TV history.
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 trying to strong-arm companies like DISH to pay outrageous rates and force unprecedented increases onto customers. The broadcaster continues to threaten to blackout 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.
“Since becoming the nation’s largest local station owner, Nexstar has increased its annual revenue by $1 billion a year. Now, it has set its sights on DISH customers as their next big payday,” said Brian Neylon, Group President, DISH TV. “Nexstar is demanding more than $1 billion in fees for its television channels. This shocking increase is the highest we’ve ever seen. Nexstar is intentionally turning its back on its public interest obligation and instead demanding consumers pay significantly more for the channels they could receive for free over-the-air.”
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.
“With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to affect the nation and unemployment on the rise, subscribers need access to their local programming,” said Neylon. “Nexstar’s tactics are hurting millions of Americans at one of the most difficult times in recent history.”
In an additional hit to customers, Nexstar announced that it is expecting to pay out over $100 million to its shareholders — this is the same money Nexstar is making on the backs of Americans nationwide.
“It’s our goal to reach an agreement with Nexstar that is fair for all parties involved, especially our customers,” added Neylon. “We will continue to fight on behalf of our customers to keep TV bills as low as possible, and we hope Nexstar sees how important it is to come to a deal that is beneficial for all.”
DISH customers can visit DISHPromise.com for more information.