Nexstar pulling the plug on live newscast streaming in many markets

Nexstar Media Group will stop streaming full local newscasts live on its websites in an effort to boost its value to linear pay TV providers.

The move comes after Nexstar, like many station owners, finds itself mired in retransmission battles with linear pay TV providers more and more frequently, and the move appears primed to bring more incentive for these providers to carry its stations at the best price possible. Inevitably, the providers want to pay less for the retransmission rights and station groups want more.

It appears Nexstar is hoping that by not letting non-paying TV subscribers access live news coverage and other original productions for free, pay TV providers may see more value in offering Nexstar stations on their lineups and, hopefully, be willing to pay closer to the group’s asking price.

Nexstar stations will make full newscasts available two hours after airing on its website and streaming apps.

Nexstar says its stations will also continue to post excerpts of its newscast content on its website, including video alongside the print version of the story after it has aired on live TV. Breaking news and other special coverage may stream live.

Nexstar says that WGN in Chicago, KTLA in Los Angeles and KRON in San Fransisco will continue to offer live streams of its newscasts via their respective OTT apps. These stations represent a significant total audience for Nexstar and also produce a significant amount of local news.

No streaming will be enabled directly on station sites, however, so viewers will be required to download an app to take advantage of the free offerings.

The change does not affect the ability to watch TV newscasts for free over the air.


Many other local TV station groups still stream their content live over the air for free, which is typically allowed under their agreements with pay TV providers. In some cases, the streams may be monetized separately through ads inserted into the streaming feed separately.

Meanwhile, some station groups have been offering streaming feeds with a mix of original and simulcast local news and lifestyle content, such as NBC and CBS-owned stations. However, many of these may also carry simulcasts of all or select local newscasts, meaning they are essentially available for free for anyone who wants them.

Other providers offer the ability for users to sign in using a TV everywhere authentication, which still requires a paid TV subscription to access programming since this typically can not be streamed for free to non-subscribers due to agreements with pay TV providers.