Nexstar Reacts to Cox's 'Gross Mischaracterizations' on Retrans Negotiations

Says Cox business practices to blame for possible blackout in 9 markets
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Related: Cox Plans to Oppose Nexstar-Media General

Nexstar Broadcasting Group fired back at Cox Communications Thursday, claiming that Cox’s business practices might cause subscribers in nine markets to lose the network and local community programming on Jan. 29.

While broadcast stations and groups, including Nexstar, produce about 35% of household viewing, Nexstar said, local broadcasters only receive about 12% of total revenue distribution from cable, satellite and telecom providers like Cox.

“Unfortunately Cox management fails to consider reasonable business logic and reliable viewership data in determining what’s best for their viewers and instead chooses to finger point at the very source of its programming and content with the highest viewership,” Nexstar said.

Calling Cox’s comments on their ongoing negotiations “egregious” and “gross mischaracterizations,” Nexstar said it “intends to pursue any and all methods of recourse to cause Cox to cease and desist making future mischaracterizations.”

Related: Nexstar, Media General Mesh With Complementary Stations, Little Market Overlap

Cox’s had issued a release earlier Thursday, saying “Nexstar won't even accept the very same rate that stations they manage agreed to just two weeks ago.” Nexstar responded that FCC rules adopted in 2014 forbid Nexstar from knowing agreed upon rates with Cox by stations to which Nexstar offers operated services.

Cox also brought up Nexstar’s intended acquisition of Media General, which Cox is planning to oppose. Cox had said that cable TV and satellite customer will have to pay more with the merger; however, Nexstar said that rate increases are related not to Nexstar Media Group but “the gross misallocation by Cox of its programming fee payments to programming with marginal viewership relative to the network and local community programming that Nexstar provides.”

While Nexstar hopes an agreement with Cox can be reached before Friday’s deadline, Nexstar said it plans to inform consumers in those market about where they can find network programming, local news and other necessary content. By responding, Nexstar said it is not letting Cox “fool their viewers as well as legislators and regulators, the investment community and the public at-large.”

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