Just in time for Christmas, Dish Network and Nexstar Media Group have resolved a carriage dispute that kept 164 TV stations off the satellite provider’s service for the past three weeks and affected five million Dish subscribers.
The new agreement was announced early Christmas morning (or late Christmas Eve, depending on which part of the day you believe 1 a.m. ET belongs). In addition to restoring the Nexstar stations to Dish’s lineup, WGN America — a cable network entirely owned by Nexstar — is back on the service. The network will also be added to Dish’s streaming service, Sling TV, in early 2021.
For several markets, Nexstar being taken off Dish’s service deprived subscribers of over-the-air local networks and the live sports coverage they provide. (You can see all of Nexstar’s stations and markets here.)
Local Channels owned by Nexstar are back on DISH. We are pleased to announce that DISH and Nexstar have reached a multi-year agreement and your local channel(s) have been restored. Thank you for your patience and support. pic.twitter.com/oWHC5T2pSK
— DISH Answers (@dish_answers) December 25, 2020
For instance, Dish subscribers couldn’t watch NBC in Tampa while Denver and Cleveland customers didn’t have Fox. All three of those are top 20 TV markets. Markets among the top 40 also affected include Portland, Charlotte, St. Louis, Indianapolis, San Diego, Nashville, and Las Vegas.
In its announcement, Nexstar said it has reached more than 250 distribution agreements with satellite, cable, telecom, and streaming partners over the past three months. With that, carriage is available to 90 percent of the TV markets in Nexstar’s footprint through 2022.
“We regret the inconvenience experienced by our viewers and look forward to again providing them with leading network and local programming,” Nexstar said to its customers in the release.