Comcast-owned NBC stations say 'no' to Sling TV ads

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Comcast must not have liked what it saw in Sling TV’s new ad campaign, which provides an unflattering view of the cable-TV industry.

According to Sling TV, Comcast-owned NBC has refused to air Sling TV ads on its owned-and-operated stations in several markets, including San Diego, San Francisco, and Washington D.C.. The ads depict “Old TV” employees as mean children, using bully tactics to extract payments from their adult customers.

Sling TV CEO Roger Lynch told Business Insider that it submitted the ads to eight local television markets. Some stations in these markets are independently-owned affiliates, while others are owned and operated directly by ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC. The NBC stations were the only ones to refuse to run the ads, according to Lynch.

Lynch used the rejection to play up Sling TV’s marketing angle as scrappy disruptor of the traditional television industry (while sidestepping the fact that Sling is owned by Dish Network). “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 wrote in a blog post. “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.”

Sling TV is a $20 per month service that streams more than 20 live cable TV channels including ESPN and CNN, with additional channel packages starting at $5 per month. It also includes some on-demand video content and DVR-like features on certain channels.

Why this matters: Cable companies like Comcast have reason to be nervous, as the rise of streaming video has finally started to eat into their TV subscriber numbers. And with football season just a month a way, it wouldn’t be surprising if Comcast didn’t want people to know that ESPN’s Monday Night Football broadcasts can be had on the cheap. Perhaps we’ll see the Streisand Effect play out yet again.

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