TDS Telecom has reached what it called a “reasonable” agreement with Nexstar, ending a month-long programming blackout that resulted when the companies’ previous agreement expired before a new one could be reached. Details of the new TDS Nexstar agreement were not released.
The blackout was the latest example of a pay-TV provider losing access to certain local broadcast programming after reaching an impasse in negotiations with the broadcaster. According to a press release, channels involved included ABC, CBS, and/or Fox programming, in addition to other channels, depending on market area. Pay-TV providers say they are at a disadvantage in such negotiations because they are required to carry local channels.
The Nexstar blackout was a particularly high-profile one, with TDS sending a letter to the FCC arguing that Nexstar was making unreasonable demands. In addition, TDS issued several press releases that placed the blame for the blackout on Nexstar. In one release, TDS said Nexstar was asking for cost increases up to 129% in some cases.
Good communications with customers can be critical during blackouts such as the one involving TDS and Nexstar, and TDS seemed to do a good job in that regard. The company repeatedly told customers that it was Nexstar that had pulled the programming and why, and even provided customers with instructions on how to watch the Super Bowl using streaming video in case they were not able to watch it through their TDS service.
In today’s press release, TDS thanked customers for their “patience and support” during the Nexstar blackout.
“Because of their support we were able to come to a reasonable agreement with Nexstar,” said Jim Butman, president and CEO of TDS Telecom, in the release.