Nexstar Broadcasting Group announced today that it has reached new distribution agreements with 30 multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs).
According to Nexstar, the new agreements enable approximately 10 million subscribers “to enjoy uninterrupted access to network, local news and other programming.”
“Nexstar is delighted that subscribers in its markets will have uninterrupted access to leading network content from NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX, MyNetworkTV, The CW, and Telemundo as well as local news and other programming it produces specifically for local communities,” the company said in a statement, adding that it has a “long-term record of negotiating in good faith to complete mutually agreeable contracts with hundreds of MVPDs for the carriage of its programming.”
The retrans agreements announcement, which is short on details like timing of the deals and names of the MVPDs, comes as Nexstar continues to pursue its acquisition of Media General. The deal would make Nexstar the second biggest TV broadcast station group in the U.S.
The announcement could be viewed as a demonstration of good faith as the FCC, which will soon see a great deal of turnover as Chairman Tom Wheeler and Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel are both departing, considers the merger.
It could also be viewed as a response of sorts to recent attacks from the American Cable Association (ACA), which in late November took to the FCC to blast retrans clauses that could be put in place by Nexstar and Media General.
In an ex parte filing, Ross Lieberman, senior vice president of government affairs at the ACA, wrote that after-acquired station clauses in Nexstar’s existing retransmission consent agreements could force many MVPDs and millions of consumers to pay higher fees and adhere to other “more onerous terms and conditions, totaling at least $24 million in just the first year.”
“As a direct result of the merger, MVPDs who have retransmission consent agreements with Media General, and who have been forced to accept after-acquired station clauses in their retransmission consent agreements with Nexstar, will see the retransmission consent fees they are paying for former Media General stations increase from between 11 percent to 125 percent as rates automatically reset at Nexstar agreement levels over the remaining life of the agreements,” Lieberman wrote in the filing.