Cox, Nexstar Settle Retrans Spat

Small-market TV station group Nexstar Broadcasting and cable operator Cox Communications have settled a 10-month-long retransmission consent fight. Nexstar has taken a hard line in negotiations with cable operators, demanding that systems pay cash for the right to retransmit their broadcast stations. Because Cox balked, Nexstar stripped its stations off Cox systems in Texas, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana and Missouri.

The new long-term deal, which applies to 12 Nexstar stations and 9 Mission Broadcasting-owned outlets, provides carriage of the TV stations' analog and digital signals, including some digital broadcast channels that the stations could launch in the future.

“We’re getting the value we want,” Nexstar Executive VP/COO Duane Lammers told B&C. “It’s getting the cable industry to recognize the value.”

Nexstar pulled its stations off Cox last January and turned the dispute into a public fight. At some Nexstar stations, staffers handed out rabbit ears so consumers could receive their broadcast stations over-the-air.

Now that the deal is done, both sides are lauding the value of the other’s services. "We are pleased to welcome these Nexstar and Mission stations back to Cox Cable," Cox COO Pat Esser said in a statement. "We regret the inconvenience to our customers while we negotiated these deals, which will help keep cable prices reasonable, fair and competitive. We also thank our loyal customers who stuck with us through this challenging time."