Cox Communications, embroiled in its own retransmission-consent spat with Nexstar Broadcasting Group, has come out against the station owner’s planned $4.6 billion merger with Media General, claiming the deal would create a behemoth that would force consumers to pay more for content.
Nexstar has warned that its stations in nine Cox markets could go dark on Jan. 29 if a new retrans deal isn’t reached. Among the markets affected is Las Vegas, where Nexstar owns CBS affiliate KLAS-TV. If the stations go dark for an extended period, Cox customers in that area could lose access to Super Bowl 50, scheduled for Feb. 7.
“Cox Communications strongly urges the public to voice its opposition of the merger to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC),” the MSO said in a statement. “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 Jan. 29. Nexstar won't even accept the very same rate that stations they manage agreed to just two weeks ago. As reported in Broadcasting and Cable Magazine, '...Nexstar sees the merger as a way to improve retransmission consent renegotiations... The new Nexstar Media Group’s 171 full power broadcast stations will be the most of any television group in the nation.' 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.”
Cox urged customers to contact the FCC at https://www.fcc.gov/about/contact.