NBCUniversal confirmed to FierceCable that it will not run advertisements for Dish Network's OTT Sling TV service on its owned and operated stations in San Francisco, San Diego, New York and Washington D.C.
NBCU representative Shawn Feddeman confirmed the news. "Per our guidelines, we make decisions about ads on a case-by-case basis," he said in an email, declining to elaborate on the company's action.
Sling TV CEO Roger Lynch initially addressed the situation in a company blog post complaining of NBCU's ad blackout. Interestingly, Lynch only pointed to three stations blocking the ads -- San Francisco, San Diego and Washington D.C. -- while NBCU's spokesman added that New York's WNBC-TV also will not run the ads.
Sling TV, the over-the-top pay-TV bundle launched by Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) in February, previewed its national advertising campaign last week, releasing three commercials on the Internet. The ads show thick-necked, junior-high-aged bullies, dressed in generic cable-company sports shirts, abusing millennial-aged customers in various ways.
"Many of us are tired of long-term contracts, expensive programming bundles, high prices and poor customer service," Lynch wrote in his post, implicating NBCU's parent company, pay-TV rival Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA), with rejecting the ads. "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."
Although it was developed and launched by a pay-TV company, Sling TV is aggressively positioning itself as a pay-TV alternative for younger consumers who are fed up with bad customer service, expensive leased equipment and confining contracts.
According to numbers released earlier today by MoffettNathanson analyst Michael Nathanson, the service has gathered between 100,000 to 200,000 users after just six months of operation.
"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," Lynch added. "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."
- read this Sling TV blog post
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