The failure to reach a settlement between DirecTV and Sunbeam Television Corp on new broadcast will result in the denial of local NBC channels to Boston residents.
Sunbeam Television Corp was trying to negotiate a contract with DirecTV to continue the broadcast of their channels, but no settlement have been reached yet. Thus, the subscribers in Boston will not be able to access these local channels for some time.
“Unfortunately, negotiations were not successful,” WHDH general manager, Paul Magnes said regarding the settlement issue. “However, DirecTV subscribers can access the stations over the air through Channel 7.1 and Channel 56.1.”
AT&T Inc., the parent company of DirecTV, mentioned that negotiations are still going on, and viewers will be able to access the channels soon. AT&T also blamed Sunbeam for increasing the fees, which DirecTV has to pay to run the stations.
“Sunbeam is demanding a significant increase in their current fees just to let these same families keep watching shows that remain available for free over-the-air on channels 7 and 56 and often online at NBC.com and CWTV.com,” said AT&T spokeswoman, Kate MacKinnon. “Sunbeam has temporarily suspended its stations from our customers several times before, so we appreciate their patience as we work to resolve this matter quickly, reasonably, and with the least possible inconvenience.”
Sunbeam was engaged in a similar dispute with Comcast earlier this year, which forced Comcast to end its affiliation with WHDH. This eventually led into the creation of NBC Boston station, which will be available to the subscribers by the year 2017. Sunbeam Company and its owner Ed Ansin battled against the decision, but they failed in the court.
As for DirecTV, it is currently unknown whether the dispute was regarding the same issue, as both the companies have not mentioned anything regarding the matter in the press. However, if so, this would be the second dispute over fees between the two companies, as a similar argument took place in 2011.
The earlier dispute resulted in a two-week blackout of Sunbeam channels that was solved immediately before the 2012 Super Bowl. DirecTV customers can access the channels on air by purchasing an antenna now, and would have to watch the British Open either that way, or by live streaming on Golf Live Extra and the NBC Sports app.