Hulu Plus Live Says No To Sinclair’s ABC Retrans Deal


ASHEVILLE, N.C. — For a small percentage of viewers to the local ABC affiliate, Wednesday evening brought a most unwelcome occurrence — the inability to watch the station.

It’s the latest retransmission consent accord to go awry, resulting in a “blackout” of a broadcast TV station. This time, it involves Sinclair Broadcast Group.

In the early evening hours of March 8, Hulu, in the words of Sinclair-owned ABC affiliate WLOS-13, “decided to remove” all of the company’s ABC-aligned stations from the Hulu Plus Live platform.

While a minor distribution point, the vMVPD is nevertheless key to ensuring all in Asheville and in nearby Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson, S.C. can get WLOS-13. The same can be said for all of the other ABC affiliates owned and/or operated by Sinclair in other markets, including KOMO-4 in Seattle and WJLA-7 in Washington, D.C. They are located in Abilene, San Angelo and Amarillo, Tex.; Birmingham, Ala.; Champaign, Ill.; Charleston, W. Va.; Charleston, S.C.; Chattanooga; Columbus and Dayton, Ohio; Eureka-Arcata, Calif.; Florence-Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Greensboro-Winston Salem, N.C.; Greenville-New Bern, N.C.; Lincoln, Neb.; Little Rock; Macon, Ga.; Mobile, Ala.; Ottumwa, Iowa; Portland, Ore.; Quincy, Ill.; Roanoke-Lynchburg; Rochester, N.Y.; St. Louis; Traverse City, Mich.; and Tulsa.

The website for WJLA offered a statement mirroring that of WLOS, chastising Hulu, which is majority-owned by The Walt Disney Company and sees Comcast’s NBCUniversal holding a minority stake.

“We were shocked and dismayed Hulu removed our station while in the middle of an active negotiation with no notice to its customers, despite our company’s numerous good faith attempts to negotiate a carriage deal and multiple unconditional extension offers to keep the programming on air,” Sinclair said. “We call on Hulu, ABC and their owners at Disney to return to the negotiating table to end this unnecessary blackout.”