AT&T, Nexstar in Dispute After 120 Stations Black Out on Holiday
Pedestrians walk past an AT&T store in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. (Photographer: Christopher Dilts/Bloomberg)

AT&T, Nexstar in Dispute After 120 Stations Black Out on Holiday

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(Bloomberg) -- AT&T Inc. and Nexstar Media Group Inc. are having a war of words after more than 120 TV stations -- including local affiliates of ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX -- were blacked out in 97 markets across the U.S. on the Fourth of July holiday.

Nexstar said AT&T’s DirecTV dropped the stations after it declined an offer to extend their earlier distribution agreement to Aug. 2 while the two companies negotiate a new pact. AT&T said it was Nexstar that ended the service even after it offered more money.

“Nexstar simply said no and chose to remove them instead,” AT&T said in a statement on its website. “By doing so, Nexstar has put you in the center of its negotiations.”

The dispute comes as pay-TV providers are suffering some of the steepest subscriber losses. Nexstar said this development Thursday is “highly unusual,” adding it hasn’t had such a major service disruption due to a distribution agreement in its 23-year history.

Nexstar said it remains “eager” to complete an agreement with DirecTV, while AT&T said these types of disputes are often “resolved quickly.”

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