IRVING, TX (Dec. 2, 2020) – Today at 7:00 p.m. ET, DISH Network removed from its system the network and local community programming provided by 164 local television stations owned by Nexstar Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Nexstar Media Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: NXST) (“Nexstar”). DISH is refusing to reach a new distribution agreement allowing the satellite television behemoth the right to continue airing Nexstar’s highly-rated programming. DISH also removed Nexstar’s cable network, WGN America, from its system, denying subscribers access to the U.S.’s only live prime-time national newscast, NewsNation. As a result, millions of Americans across the country have lost local news, traffic, weather, sports, and entertainment programming as well as critical, up-to-date news regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
Viewers across the United States have expressed their outrage at DISH Network for its documented long-term practice of putting its paying subscribers in the middle, rather than reaching agreements with broadcasters and content providers at fair market rates. In 2020 alone, DISH has dropped network or local community programming offered by The E.W. Scripps Company, Apollo, Mission Broadcasting, the NFL Network, and 21 regional sports networks.
Following DISH’s actions, DISH subscribers in 115 Nexstar markets from Los Angeles to Charlotte have lost access to thousands of hours of vitally important local news, just as the country prepares for an explosion in new coronavirus cases and a new President prepares to take office. In addition, as a result of DISH’s actions, DISH subscribers will not be able to view the NFL and college football games scheduled for this weekend, and all of the entertainment programming provided by Nexstar’s network partners, CBS, FOX, NBC, ABC, The CW and MyNet. Viewers in Nexstar markets are being urged to ask DISH for refunds for the loss of this highly-rated valuable programming.
Since July, Nexstar has been negotiating tirelessly and in good faith in an attempt to reach a mutually agreeable multi-year contract with DISH, offering DISH the same fair market rates it offered to other large distribution partners with whom it completed successful negotiations in 2019 and 2020. Nexstar routinely reaches amicable retransmission and carriage agreements with its cable, satellite and telco partners and in the month of October alone, successfully completed agreements with nearly 200 distribution partners.
DISH continues to propose rates that are less than fair market value for the broadcast network and local market programming content carried by Nexstar’s television stations. DISH also continues to exclude WGN America from its proposals. Since DISH proposals are not at all in line with the reality of current market rates, Nexstar is left with no choice but to reject any extension of the current agreement.
Nexstar remains hopeful that a resolution can be reached quickly to return to viewers their favorite network programming, in-depth local news, and other content relevant to their communities, and critical emergency updates for which DISH is charging its subscribers.
Consumers and viewers affected by DISH Network’s proposed blackout can contact DISH Network directly at 9601 South Meridian Boulevard, Englewood, CO 80112 and by phone at (800) 333-3474 or (303) 723-1000.