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DirecTV And Sunbeam Settle Boston And Miami TV Carriage Disputes

By | Thursday January 26, 2012 @ 3:10pm PST

DirecTV customers in the Boston area don’t have to worry about being unable to see their hometown team, the New England Patriots, play in the Super Bowl against the New York Giants. The program carriage dispute, which began on January 14 when Sunbeam took its stations off of DirecTV, ended the way most do: A lot of noise before reason prevails. DirecTV had said that Sunbeam wanted a 300% price increase, which the satellite company wouldn’t pay. But the companies aren’t disclosing financial terms. Here’s DirecTV’s release:

EL SEGUNDO, Calif., Jan. 26, 2012 – DIRECTV released the following statement today:
“We are pleased to have reached an agreement to end the Sunbeam blackout, and regret that any of our customers were forced into the middle of a business dispute where they should never have been in the first place. We believe, like many, the public interest is best served by allowing customers to keep their local broadcast stations as we negotiate future agreements, rather than being denied access by broadcast stations and used as leverage in what should be a private business matter.”

The Sunbeam-owned stations – WHDH and WLVI in Boston and WSVN in Miami – are now available for DIRECTV customers in those cities.

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Don’t Black Out The Super Bowl In Massachusetts, Lawmakers Plead To DirecTV and Sunbeam

By | Tuesday January 24, 2012 @ 3:55pm PST

Here’s an issue that unites Democrats and Republicans in Massachusetts: Lawmakers there are virtually begging DirecTV and Sunbeam Television to end their contract standoff — or at least let Boston-area satellite subscribers see their hometown New England Patriots meet the New York Giants in the Super Bowl on February 5. It would be “almost unthinkable” to have local residents miss the game, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) said in a letter today to the companies. On January 14, the TV station owner took down its Boston NBC affiliate WHDH and CW affiliate WLVI — as well as Miami’s Fox affiliate WSVN. It wants higher fees for the stations; DirecTV says the price hike comes to 300% — more than it’s willing to pay. “If people in Boston miss the Super Bowl this year because of this dispute, I can assure you that it will lead more and more people to throw up their hands and say, ‘a pox upon both of their houses’,” Kerry wrote. Read More »

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Miami-Area Fox Affil Gives Pro Football Fans A Break On Playoff Day

By | Saturday January 21, 2012 @ 12:26pm PST

Miami-Fort Lauderdale pro football fans are getting a break tomorrow in the local TV station owner’s retransmission fee feud with DirecTV. Sunbeam Television’s Fox affiliate WSVN is lifting its blackout in DirecTV homes during the NFC championship game between the New York Giants and the San Francisco 49ers. It’s also allowing the satcaster to show American Idol later that night and local news. “WSVN-TV is still negotiating with DirecTV, but we care about our viewers, and we want them to be able to watch this game, which will determine who goes to the Super Bowl,” said Robert Leider, WSVN’s EVP/GM.

Sunbeam also owns Boston NBC affiliate WHDH, which remains blacked out on DirecTV, which means if the New England Patriots defeat the Baltimore Ravens tomorrow in the AFC title match, Boston-area fans would have to scramble on Superbowl Sunday February 5 — unless Sunbeam and DirecTV come to terms. Citing complaints from constituents, U.S. Senator John Kerry has asked the FCC to step in and nudge the two sides to make a deal. New York media consultant Shari Anne Brill said she expects the DirecTV-Sunbeam dispute to be settled, possibly just in time for a playoff game or the Super Bowl. “They usually cave in at the last minute,” Brill said. “Consumers will wind up paying extra.”

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Last Minute Effort Fails To Save NFL And Golden Globe Telecasts For Some DirecTV Customers

By | Sunday January 15, 2012 @ 4:23pm PST

DirecTV’s sports fans in Miami already know the bad news, and showbiz devotees in Boston soon will: The satellite company failed to strike a carriage deal with Sunbeam Television prior to Fox’s broadcast of the NFL playoff game between the Green Bay Packers and New York Giants — and there are no plans to talk before NBC shows the Golden Globes tonight.  Sunbeam owns Fox-affiliate WSVN in Miami where DirecTV has about 250,000 customers, and NBC affiliate WHDH and CW affiliate WLVI in Boston where the satellite company has 200,000 subs. In an email sent just before game time DirecTV asked Sunbeam for permission show the match without a contractual agreement “so our customers will not be deprived of yet another playoff game in your markets.” The satellite company added that it is ”available at any time to discuss our agreement when you are ready to respond to our last offer.” Sunbeam, seeking a 300% in its rates, yanked its stations from DirecTV Friday at midnight.

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Some Sports Fans Can’t Watch NFL Playoffs

By | Sunday January 15, 2012 @ 12:23am PST

Miami-area sports fans who are also DirecTV customers are having to scramble this weekend to catch football playoffs on Fox. That’s because Sunbeam Television, owner of Fox affiliate WSVN, pulled the plug on DirecTV at midnight Friday. It’s the latest showdown between providers over increases in carriage fees. Sunbeam yanked their station feeds to DirecTV when the satcaster balked at a 300% increase in fees for the right to carry local station signals. (And Time Warner Cable thought Madison Square Garden’s purported demand for a 53% increase was steep. That New York dispute is still unresolved.)

Unless a settlement is reached before this afternoon, DirecTV subscribers who haven’t secured an alternative will miss today’s highly anticipated playoff between the New York Giants and Green Bay Packers. Yesterday’s NFC playoff game between the San Francisco 49ers and New Orleans Saints had DirecTV subscribers converging on electronics stores such as Best Buy nearly emptying shelves of broadcast antennas so they wouldn’t miss football and other Fox programming. Others turned to sports bars, which apparently weren’t affected.

WSVN general manager Robert Leider said DirecTV’s offer was below fair-market value, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. DirecTV has about 270,000 subscribers who are affected in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. Approximately 270,000 customers were affected in Broward and Miami-Dade counties. Sunbeam also cut DirecTV feeds from Boston’s NBC affiliate WHDH and CW affiliate WLVI.

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