Local 44 blackout by AT&T/DirecTV appears headed for third day

Nexstar

Little progress was made Friday to end a blackout of Local 44-WFFF for DirectTV subscribers in Vermont, the North Country and western New Hampshire.

Subscribers were hit with blacked-out channels Thursday after DirecTV and its owner AT&T failed to reach a new distribution agreement with Nexstar Broadcasting Group, Local 44’s owner. Nexstar says 120 channels across 97 U.S. markets have been shut off.

Instead of showing local news affiliates such as ABC, NBC and FOX, customers continue to see only a message from DirecTV stating that Nexstar had removed the channel.

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Both companies are pointing blame at the other for the blackout.

AT&T says it offered Nexstar more money to keep the channels available.

In a press release, Nexstar said it was misled by DirecTV, which had asked that viewers not be informed about the pending expiration of the existing agreement as negotiations continued.

“Yet, with minutes to go before the prior agreement was to expire,” Nexstar says, “DIRECTV/AT&T did not accept Nexstar’s offer for an extension which would have allowed viewers in the affected markets to view their favorite network shows, special events, sports, local news and other programming on the Fourth of July and until such time as a new agreement can be reached. ”

@DIRECTV has been bombarded on Twitter by subscribers demanding that the channels be restored.

Nexstar said this is the first time in its 23-year history that it has a service disruption related to distribution agreements.

“In contrast, DIRECTV is routinely involved in disputes with content providers and following its 2015 acquisition by AT&T has dropped or threatened to black out network and local community programming from DISH Network, Viacom, SJL Broadcasting/Lilly Broadcasting, and others. “

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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