Statement as issued Monday:
FORT WAYNE, Ind. & IRVING, Texas – (BUSINESS WIRE) – Nexstar Broadcasting Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: NXST) announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Nexstar Broadcasting Inc., today filed a federal civil antitrust lawsuit in the Northern District of Indiana against Granite Broadcasting Corporation and its wholly-owned subsidiaries WISE-TV License LLC and WISE-TV, Inc. (collectively referred to as “Granite”). Nexstar filed the litigation to remedy the anticompetitive impact that has been caused and will be caused by Granite’s efforts to monopolize local advertising sales in the Fort Wayne, Indiana Designated Market Area resulting from exclusive affiliate agreements Granite has executed with two of the four major television networks.
As a result of Granite’s efforts and its shared services agreement with Malara Broadcasting in the Fort Wayne, Indiana Designated Market Area, Granite will control local television advertising sales for stations affiliated with the FOX, NBC and ABC networks, as well as the CW and MyNetwork TV networks. Nexstar’s lawsuit asserts that Granite’s actions violate Section 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act, Section 7 of the Clayton Act, and Indiana antitrust law.
Nexstar is seeking a judgment that will cause Granite’s ability to control the advertising sales and revenues of at least one of the three “Big Four” network affiliations to be terminated. It has also sought treble damages for injuries that it has sustained and will sustain as a result of Granite’s anticompetitive acts.
Nexstar is focused on delivering quality news, entertainment, and local programming to viewers and high value advertising solutions to local businesses in each of its 36 markets. Nexstar also seeks to act as an advocate for the local communities and advertisers that it serves. Nexstar believes Granite’s actions to monopolize advertising sales in Fort Wayne will allow it to raise advertising rates to local businesses that are dependent on a fair and competitive television network marketplace. The increased advertising rates will likely drive increases in the prices of goods and services for consumers as well. Granite’s actions are detrimental to Fort Wayne’s economy and clear violations of several national and local laws. Nexstar is seeking to have these actions enjoined as soon as possible for the sake of advertisers, consumers, and competitors, particularly in light of the continued, challenging economic environment.
Nexstar is being represented in its lawsuit by Constantine Cannon LLP and Krieg Devault LLP.
About Nexstar Broadcasting Group, Inc.
Nexstar Broadcasting Group is a leading diversified media company that leverages localism to bring new services and value to consumers and advertisers through its traditional media, e-MEDIA, digital and mobile media platforms. Nexstar owns, operates, programs or provides sales and other services to 65 television stations and related digital signals in 36 markets in 16 states and reaches approximately 13.5 million viewers or approximately 11.6% of all U.S. television households. The stations are affiliates of NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX, MyNetworkTV, The CW, LATV, TV Azteca and Telemundo. The Company’s 35 community portal websites offer additional hyper-local content and verticals for consumers and advertisers.
In Fort Wayne, Nexstar owns WFFT-TV, which, as recently announced, will debut WFFT LOCAL on August 1, 2011.