AT&T, Nexstar End Blackout, Strike New Carriage Deal

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Claire Benoist; Styling: Alma Melendez

AT&T and TV-station owner Nexstar Media are connected once again,

The two companies, which have been at odds since early July over a carriage deal that affected around 120 different affiliates of big networks, said they had come to terms on a new multi-year deal that will put Nexstar stations back on AT&T’s DirecTV satellite, AT&T TV and U-verse services. A blackout of Nexstar properties had affected stations in 97 U.S. markets,

The companies declined to offer specific financial terms of the deal.

The deal will no doubt soothe the brows of various TV-network executives, who have cited the blackout as a factor in some of their audience ratings in recent weeks. Earlier this week, NBC executives suggested the Nexstar blackout was giving ABC’s “Good Morning America” an edge in viewership over its “Today” because more NBC stations were affected by the impasse with AT&T. They estimated the inability of Nexstar to reach consumers via DirecTV had caused a dip of about 10,000 “Today” viewers in the key advertiser demo, between the ages of 25 and 54.

The two sides squabbled in July, with Nexstar accusing AT&T of demanding terms better than those Nexstar offered to its competitors, while AT&T suggested Nexstar was seeking too steep a rate increase for its stations.

Now both sides said they regretted inconveniences suffered by subscribers and advertisers.

“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, in a prepared statement.

The new deal “willl 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,” said Keith Hopkins, senior vice president, distribution,  of Nexstar, in a statement.