February 5, 2016 Last Updated 7:29 am

The war is over: Nexstar Broadcasting Group and Cox Communications reach new distribution agreement

You may remember this story from last week, Nexstar and Cox Communications were at war over a new distribution agreement and things looked like they were getting ugly. The fight involved the usual thing, an owner of broadcast properties was trying to get more money from a cable television provider and threats were passed around as negotiating ploys.

What made this one interesting was that it involved Nexstar, which has just won the right to merge with Media General. If you recall, Media General announced that it had a deal to merge with Meredith Corporation, but then there was some pushback from major shareholders, and then Nexstar stepped in with a competing bid. Eventually Nexstar won.

But here, Cox Communications used the nuclear option in its negotiations, asking consumers to object to the Nexstar-Media General deal, citing Nexstar’s efforts to raise retransmission rates.

“Nexstar is demanding Cox Communications customers pay triple the current price for retransmission consent or Nexstar will remove their signal from the Cox Communications lineup on January 29,” Cox said in a statement. “Nexstar won’t even accept the very same rate that stations they manage agreed to just two weeks ago.”

“Nexstar should not be allowed to become a larger company, which would force more cable TV/satellite companies and ultimately customers to pay higher fees for retransmission consent. This merger is bad for business, bad for consumers and is not in the public interest.”

That sounded like war, though it was likely just a very tough negotiating ploy.

It was, and today the two companies announced they had a new distribution deal. No hard feelings, right? All’s fair in love, war and cable television.

IRVING, Texas – February 5, 2016 — Nexstar Broadcasting Group, Inc. announced today that it reached a new distribution agreement with Cox Communications allowing the cable television provider the right to resume carrying Nexstar’s highly rated network and local community programming. The agreement covers Nexstar’s broadcast platform inclusive of 13 network affiliated and local stations in nine markets. Programming on all stations will resume as soon as possible.

Nexstar’s top priority is providing exceptional programming and service to local viewers, hometown businesses, and public organizations in the local communities it serves across the United States. Nexstar is delighted that Cox subscribers in its markets will have restored access to leading network content from ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, CW and MyNetworkTV as well as local news and other programming produced specifically for local communities.

Until this week’s impasse with Cox Communications, Nexstar Broadcasting has successfully negotiated more than 1,200 retransmission agreements over the last 11 years, without a material disruption of service in that time. Specific terms of the agreement are not being disclosed.

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