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NBC blocking Sling TV commercials on its channels

by Sean P. Aune | July 31, 2015July 31, 2015 6:00 pm PDT

Sling TV

Sling TV wants everyone to know about its service, but apparently Comcast isn’t quite as excited about that idea.

A new ad campaign launched this week for the Sling TV streaming service, and while some companies have been running them without issue, Comcast isn’t quite as excited. The media conglomerate owns the NBC network, and on the stations it owns and operates – known as O&O, and different from affiliate stations – it is outright rejecting the ads.

Sling TV CEO Roger Lynch sent out a letter Friday morning explaining the situation.

Comcast-owned NBC blocks Sling TV ads

We recently learned that NBC blocked Sling TV’s new advertisements from airing on its owned and operated (O&O) stations. For anyone who needs a reminder, Comcast – the standard bearer for “Old TV” in the U.S. – owns the NBC broadcast network, and by extension, its O&O stations across the country. At this time, NBC’s O&O stations in San Diego, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. have rejected the ads.

This action stands in contrast to the fact that our ads are currently running across ABC, CBS and Fox O&O stations and affiliates, as well as independently-owned NBC affiliates (emphasis on “independently-owned,” or in other words, not owned by Comcast).

Here’s the irony. The refusal to air our campaign endorses the ads’ central truth: there are traditional pay-TV players that just don’t get it.

And what is it that they don’t get?

Innovation benefits customers. Sling TV exists because we recognize the need for a new live TV model that’s simple. Many of us are tired of long-term contracts, expensive programming bundles, high prices and poor customer service. Instead, we want TV on our terms. To come and go as we like. To watch great content, including sports, on the devices we own and use. And perhaps most importantly, we want rational pricing.

This is what our new commercials call out. This is what Comcast doesn’t want you to see.

Comcast has a demonstrated history of shutting down ideas it doesn’t like or understand, predictably to its benefit and at the expense of consumers. This is why we aggressively fought Comcast’s merger with Time Warner Cable. Our argument? That this massive conglomerate would use its incredible market power in broadband to thwart live Internet video services like Sling TV. Comcast was denied this avenue. Unfortunately, it appears “Old TV” may grasp at any tactic in attempt to preserve the status quo.

Roger Lynch
CEO of Sling TV
#TakeBackTV

What’s intriguing here is why Comcast would do this. If it runs ads for DirecTV, Dish Network or other competitors, what is wrong with running an ad for a streaming service?

Meanwhile, Sling TV is making the most of those by letting the world know Comcast has passed on running its ads.

Sounds to us like the company may want to reconsider running these ads.


Sean P. Aune

Sean P. Aune has been a professional technology blogger since July 2007, but his love of tech dates back to at least 1976 when his parents bought...

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