Sling TV Says Comcast-Owned NBC Stations Are Blocking Its Ads

There’s a rumble brewing in telecom town: Sling TV is accusing Comcast of keeping its ads off some NBC stations’ airwaves. Which is exactly what the big bad cable company in its recent marketing campaign would do, Dish Network-owned Sling says.

Sling threw down the gauntlet in a blog post on Thursday by CEO Roger Lynch.

“We recently learned that NBC blocked Sling TV’s new advertisements from airing on its owned and operated (O&O) stations. For anyone who needs a reminder, Comcast – the standard bearer for ‘Old TV’ in the U.S. – owns the NBC broadcast network, and by extension, its O&O stations across the country,” Lynch writes. “At this time, NBC’s O&O stations in San Diego, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. have rejected the ads.”

In contrast, Lynch notes that Sling’s ads are currently running on ABC, CBS and Fox O&O stations and affiliates, “as well as independently-owned NBC affiliates (emphasis on ‘independently-owned,’ or in other words, not owned by Comcast).”

The ad in question features pre-teen bullies employed by “Old TV” beating up on average customers: the meanies administer wedgies and wet willies, treat customers to scathing admonitions when they try to get out of contracts and literally beat down on folks who resist.

Though Comcast is not named in the ad, Sling thinks it’s no coincidence that the company has responded this way, as it reinforces the campaign’s truth that traditional pay-TV players “just don’t get it,” Lynch says.

“And what is it that they don’t get?” Lynch asks. “Innovation benefits customers.”

He goes on to point out that many customers are sick of long-term contracts, expensive programming bundles, high prices and poor customer service.

“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,” the post reads. “This is what our new commercials call out. This is what Comcast doesn’t want you to see.”

It’s worth noting that Comcast recently announced its intention to test its own version of live TV that streams through the Internet, aptly enough called “Stream.”

This would differ from Sling TV: Comcast says Stream would include stations like ABC, CBS, CW, FOX, NBC, PBS, Telemundo and Univision, that are freely available over the air for anyone with a decent antenna, as well as HBO.

Sling, meanwhile, peddles a “Best of Live TV” lineup for $20/month with a slew of channels like A&E, Adult Swim, AMC, Bloomberg, Cartoon Network, CNN, Disney Channel, ESPN, ESPN2, Food Network, Lifetime, TBS, TNT and others in its base package, as well as various add-ons like HBO, available for $15 per month.

In any case, Lynch sees Comcast’s move to ban Sling ads as a compliment.

“Hey, if they’re going to go through the trouble of banning our ads, we must be doing something right,” Lynch says. “I hope you take our commercials and share them with your friends.”


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