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WIVB, WNLO back on DirecTV after deal between owners is announced

Here’s good news for fans of the Buffalo Bills and CBS prime-time programs who subscribe to DirecTV.

The national dispute between the owners of the satellite service and Nexstar, the owners of the local CBS affiliate WIVB-TV and the CW affiliate WNLO-TV, is over, and the local stations are back on the service in Western New York.

The two sides have been arguing over how much money AT&T, DirecTV’s owner, should pay Nexstar to carry its stations across 97 markets in the country. They announced Thursday that a multiyear agreement has been reached. No financial details of the deal were announced.

The retransmission consent agreement was reached a week before the National Football League season begins and a few weeks before CBS’ and the CW's prime-time entertainment programs start running new episodes of returning series and premieres of new programs.

WIVB and the other Nexstar stations across the country have been off DirecTV since July 4, meaning about 90,000 Western New York households haven't been able to watch CBS programming and WIVB newscasts since then on the satellite service.

However, those viewers could watch in alternative ways, including over-the-air with a strong antenna and via CBS All Access for $5.99 a month.

The start of the NFL season and the new TV season was expected to raise the pressure on the two sides to make a deal.

WIVB, the local CBS affiliate, is scheduled to carry 14 of the Bills 16 regular season games.

“Our customers want more choice and value, and we are pleased to deliver that through this new agreement with Nexstar and its many local stations,” said Rob Thun, senior vice president of content and programming for AT&T Communications, in a release.

“Nexstar’s longstanding commitment is to provide exceptional programming and service to the local communities we serve across the United States, and this new multi-year agreement will allow us to continue delivering our stations’ leading network and sports content as well as local news and other programming to AT&T subscribers in our markets,” said Keith Hopkins, a senior vice president for Nexstar Media Group, in the same release.

The release also noted that both sides regretted the “the inconvenience incurred by customers, viewers and advertisers, and we thank them for their patience, as the new agreement was being finalized.”

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