Sinclair says PlayStation Vue’s ‘very small subscriber base’ renders blackout moot

Playstation Vue
Sinclair has pulled access to its local affiliates from Sony PlayStation Vue subscribers. (Sony Corp.)

Sinclair Broadcast Group said it has pulled its stations off PlayStation Vue, accusing operator Sony Corp. of failing to “comply with certain contractual provisions.” 

“The impasse affects all of Sony's Playstation Vue subscribers who are located in Sinclair markets, although because of the very small subscriber base that PlayStation Vue has this event will have no material impact on Sinclair,” the broadcaster said in a rather biting statement

One of the first virtual MVPDs to launch, debuting three years ago alongside Dish Network’s Sling TV, PlayStation Vue has yet to confirm its subscriber numbers. 

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Sony has begun offering on-demand network programming from ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC to subscribers suddenly deprived of access to Sinclair local affiliates. For its part, Sinclair said these customers are missing out on programming, such as Sinclair’s local news

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“While Sony has advised its subscribers that it will replace our stations with certain on demand content, that content represents just a fraction of the programming Sinclair's stations provide and does not include any of our award-winning news or popular syndicated programming,” Sinclair added in its statement. “Even the network programming that Sony now has will not be available until after it has aired on our stations and will not include live sports programming. Sony promotes PlayStation Vue as a ‘live streaming TV service with sports, news and your favorite must-watch shows,' which is no longer the case with respect to Sinclair's stations.”

RELATED: PlayStation Vue chief says vMVPDs will lead to more stacking, fewer channels

PlayStation Vue reps didn’t immediately respond to Fierce’s inquiry for comment.

As TV Answer Man blogger Phillip Swann noted, the nature of the dispute is a little hard to discern, given that some network affiliates debuted on Vue just four months ago. Is their retrans agreement up already?

Sinclair owns and/or operates 192 local stations in 89 markets.