Recently, we ran a piece on Sling TV’s new advertisement spots that mock “Old TV” by personifying broadcast cable providers as adolescent bullies that coerce customers into buying services. The kids torture customers into buying products they don’t need via wedgies, wet willies, and other humiliating strong-arm tactics.
Well, circle up, folks — it looks like we have a good ol’ fashioned playground fight on our hands.
NBC has started blocking Sling TV’s new ads on its owned and operated stations in key markets like San Diego, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. Why? Most likely because broadcast cable provider Comcast owns the NBCUniversal. After all, ABC, CBS, FOX, and independently-owned NBC affiliates (aka stations not owned by Comcast) are all letting the campaign run.
While you could argue that Comcast is just fighting fire with fire, you could also argue that the company is responding to accusations of bullying by … well … bullying.
Roger Lynch, CEO of Sling TV is arguing the latter, and he’s doing so very publicly.
“Here’s the irony. The refusal to air our campaign endorses the ads’ central truth: there are traditional pay-TV players that just don’t get it,” wrote Lynch in a recent blog post. “Innovation benefits customers. Sling TV exists because we recognize the need for a new live TV model that’s simple”
The new live TV model he’s talking about is an internet-based, live-streaming option that allows users to eschew bundled broadcast cable for a model that is more limited in terms of content, but far cheaper. Sling TV’s packages start at $20/month sans contract and include a targeted selection of 20+ popular channels (ESPN, A&E, History, TNT, etc.). For an additional monthly fee, subscribers can add HBO and other extras.
While it’s a tad ironic that Sling’s parent company (Dish Network) could easily be lumped together with the rest of the “Old TV” hooligans, Sling TV does provide a great deal more flexibility than traditional cable. All things considered, it’s a step forward for an industry that has been clinging to the past for far too long. And, after all, one might say simply offering such a service as part of its offerings in itself differentiates Dish Network from the other so-called bullies.
To coin an “Old TV” saying, stay tuned for updates.