Sinclair Broadcast Group and Nexstar Media Group announced a tentative agreement to work together on the transition to over-the-air delivery of ATSC 3.0 next-gen TV services in 97 markets.
The deal is pursuant to the companies’ previously announced spectrum consortium that promotes spectrum aggregation and innovation, and includes 43 markets where both companies own a television station.
Nexstar and Sinclair intend to share next-gen services in 54 markets where only one of the companies owns or operates a station.
The broadcasters anticipate the FCC will approve ATSC 3.0 standards. Once that happens, both companies will be able to enter into channel sharing agreements where existing ATSC 1.0 as well as next-gen ATSC 3.0 will be simulcast on different stations’ spectrum, according to a Thursday press release.
The agreement says that the companies will share their spectrum within their markets.
Since the FCC’s recent incentive auction and mandated repack of remaining broadcast television stations decreased the amount of available broadcast spectrum, the spectrum consortium believes coordination is “critical” to ensure the transition to ATSC 3.0 can still happen successfully.
“Our collaboration with Sinclair demonstrates Nexstar’s commitment to making ‘NextGen’ television a reality for the communities and business we serve across America,” Perry Sook, chairman, president and CEO of Nexstar, notes. “Our research and analysis indicates that this market-based solution to the transition is a win for broadcasters and for television viewers who will soon have access to the enhanced over-the-air services that this new technology can bring, which will enable us to remain highly competitive in today’s multi-platform environment.”
The specific market roll outs and sharing agreements are still in development, but could happen by the fourth quarter of 2017, when FCC approval of the new ATSC 3.0 standard is anticipated.