PlayStation Vue has removed Sinclair-owned local stations from its streaming lineup without an explanation. (See update below with Sinclair’s statement confirming the channels have been removed.)
The live streaming service pulled the stations yesterday morning from the channel lineups posted at Vue’s site. This came a day after subscribers were notified via e-mail that the live channels would be replaced on May 1 with an On-Demand version.
“We are writing to inform you that on 5/1/18, the ABC-affiliated live local broadcast channel in your area will be replaced with an On Demand version of the channel,” read one subscriber notice, which was posted on the Internet message board, Reddit. “The On Demand version of the channel offers a library of current and top programming. However, live and DVR programming will no longer be viewable.”
It’s unclear if each Sinclair station is off Vue as of this morning. Subscribers have posted messages at social media sites saying they have lost their locals.
“@PlayStation what happened to my live ABC feed on Vue!?” one Vue subscriber in Virginia tweeted yesterday. (Sinclair owns the ABC affiliate in the Washington DC/suburban Virginia area.)
It’s also unclear if Sinclair and PlayStation Vue, which is owned by Sony, are battling over carriage fees, a dispute that often occurs in the traditional pay TV industry. However, Vue added some Sinclair stations last January so it would be odd that the companies would be fighting over a carriage agreement just four months later.
Neither company has issued a statement on the situation, other than the Vue e-mail to subscribers. TVAnswerman.com has asked Sony and Sinclair for a comment and will report back here if we receive one.
Update: Sinclair this afternoon issued a press release confirming that all of its stations have been removed from Vue. The broadcaster blamed “Sony (for) failing to comply with certain contractual provisions.” It did not elaborate. Sony has yet to issue a comment.
Sinclair owns and/or operates 192 local stations in 89 different markets. The loss of Sinclair stations could be a serious blow to Vue’s subscriber efforts, particularly if the stations are gone for an extended period of time.
Cord Cutters News first reported news of the Vue/Sinclair development.
— Phillip Swann