Sunbeam Television, a Miami-based station owner, today denied DIRECTV customers in its south Florida hometown access to their local FOX station, blacking out this Saturday’s and Sunday’s NFL divisional playoff games in an egregious attempt to extract a more than 300 percent increase in fees. As a result of Sunbeam’s actions, DIRECTV customers in Boston have also lost their local NBC and CW affiliates.
DIRECTV made repeated requests to extend its agreement to carry Sunbeam Television stations so negotiations could continue and to avoid the loss of this afternoon’s NFC playoff game between the San Francisco 49ers and New Orleans Saints, as well as tomorrow afternoon’s contest between the NY Giants and defending NFL Champion Green Bay Packers.
Not only did Sunbeam flat out refuse this request, they sent a demand letter today dictating that the channels be removed immediately from DIRECTV. This decision rests solely on the shoulders of Sunbeam executives, so customers should call Sunbeam’s corporate offices and insist the channels be restored so customers aren’t placed in the middle while both sides work toward a deal to enable everyone to move on.
Over the past 12 months, DIRECTV has achieved fair and equitable agreements with more than 70 local station owners representing hundreds of different TV channels (including stations in Boston and Miami) and without any programming disruptions. More than 20 of those agreements came within the past several weeks alone.
“There is always one outlier, like Sunbeam, who has no problem committing an unthinkable abuse of the public trust in an effort to shake down an excessive financial arrangement for themselves,” said Derek Chang, executive vice president of Programming for DIRECTV. “We have no problem compensating Sunbeam fairly, but we have to take a stand against runaway greed and a shameless attempt to extort a more than 300 percent fee increase that our customers risk having to absorb. Sunbeam has completely disregarded its obligations to the public, NFL fans and hundreds of thousands of our loyal customers.”