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TDS and Nexstar remain locked in negotiations

As you likely know, Nexstar Media Group who operates 174 stations and reaches 38% of all U.S. households is preventing TDS from broadcasting channels such as ABC, CBS and FOX in select markets. Some network channels remain dark for more than 50,000 TDS Telecom (TDS®) customers in eight states including 18,000 customers in:  Halls, Tenn. (ABC), LaVergne, Tenn. (ABC) and select channels, such as CW in Indiana.

TDS President and CEO Jim Butman recently sat down to answer customer questions in his third video message to customers since negotiations with Nexstar failed on Dec. 31, 2018.

“If we don’t stand up for what’s right, things won’t change. So we’re staying the course—most of you have supported us in this fight—which means we will keep fighting,” states Butman in the video.

According to Butman, one of Nexstar’s more egregious demands is for TDS to continue to pay Nexstar as if it were broadcasting popular network programming, such as NFL football games or shows such as Grey’s Anatomy (even if Nexstar loses its network affiliation and instead starts carrying less desirable programming). In essence, Nexstar is demanding that TDS customer’s bear Nexstar’s business risks.

“This is an example of a large broadcaster trying to force a small operator to accept unjustified terms. We appeal to Nexstar to come to the table with a reasonable offer and end this standoff,” adds Butman.

At the heart of this dispute is a rapidly changing TV industry, with broadcast stations such as Nexstar losing viewers to streaming services, often with higher quality programing.  Recently the President of the American Cable Association issued an op-ed statement explaining the forces at work and supporting TDS and another cable provider for standing up to Nexstar and enduring extended channel blackouts.

On day 25 with no end in sight, TDS is providing customers with alternatives to watch Super Bowl LIII on Feb. 3. There are many choices when it comes to viewing premium content, including:  online streaming services, next day on-demand options, over-the- air antennas or mobile apps, all of which can make the blackout less severe.

As a reminder to all customers:  TDS is offering refunds for lost channels in upcoming statements.

About Missy Kellor

Missy works on the Corporate Communications team and reports stories to TDS employees and customers. This is right up her alley because she’s an extrovert and also a big fan of research (really, she’ll look up just about anything that strikes her interest). Missy is a native of Madison, Wis. with an undergraduate in Anthropology and a master’s degree in Life Sciences Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her interest in the Internet as a mass media shaped her work towards a PhD in Journalism and Mass Communications. She’s also worked as an editorial assistant, copywriter, and production artist. In her off hours, Missy is a crafter, Pinterest addict, reader, wife, and mom of two kids. You can find Missy on G+ and on Twitter.

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