Cape Cod DirecTV customers won’t be able to watch some major Olympic games due to the carriage fee dispute between Sunbeam Television Corporation and DirecTV. Sunbeam is the parent company of NBC Universal affiliate WHDH-TV and WLVI-TV, which had blacked out on DirecTV from July 16.
Popular and major events such as the opening and closing ceremonies, track and field events, as well as gymnastics, swimming, and diving competitions, which are covered by NBC, will be missed by DirecTV customers. However, customers can watch many other Olympic events from other channels available on DirecTV.
Selected Olympic events will be broadcasted on Bravo, the Golf Channel, CNBC, MSNBC, USA Network, NBC Universo, NBCSN, and other sports channels. Besides that, customers can also access thousands of hours of Olympic Games via live streaming services, or use an antenna to tune into WHDH and WLVI-TV.
Owner of Kian n’ Rylee’s Pub & Patio on Main Street in Hyannis, Sean Whelahan, said that, “We’re getting some of the Olympics, but we’re not going to get the opening ceremonies unless they resolve it. I’m upset. I think a large company like that should inform people rather than have no communication.”
The director of news relations for AT&T, Kate MacKinnon, said that negotiations are going on. She said, “We are working hard to prevent Sunbeam from blocking any Olympics fans. We want to get WHDH and WLVI back into our Boston customers’ lineups and share their frustration.”
Vice president and general manager of WLVI and WHDH, Paul Magnes, said the talks had been unsuccessful. “We are merely seeking fair and reasonable market value for the transmission of our signals. Sunbeam Television has been able to negotiate agreements with many other providers and we are working to settle this matter so that our station will once again be available on the DirecTV lineup,” Magnes said.
Lauren Skowronski, an NBC Universal representative, commented that, “Any DirecTV subscriber who has access to USA Network in their video package can stream all Olympics coverage, including NBC coverage, on NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app.”
The current situation can force the customers to switch to cable TV alternatives. “Viewers lose the ability to watch the TV channel. The problem for the carrier is that they lose the ability to keep the customer happy. And the problem to the channel is that they have fewer customers, so they aren’t able to charge as much, said Jeff Kagan, a telecom analyst.