Sunbeam conducts Miami retransmission battle without hostages


Fox 7 WSVN-TV in Miami has been unable to get DirecTV to agree on a retransmission package and has been forced to pull its station for the satcaster’s local channel lineup. However, the station owner Sunbeam Television Corporation has announced that it will allow DirecTV subscribers to catch the NFL playoff game between the New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers regardless, along with pre- and post-game programs and “American Idol.”

“We realize that a lot of our viewers are upset about this whole DirecTV blackout,” said WSVN Executive Vice President & General Manager Robert Leider. “So we decided to air this game this coming weekend that’s going to determine who is going to play in the superbowl.”

Leider noted DirecTV’s complaint that the “greedy” station was seeking a 300% increase in fees, a claim he called totally misleading. “Fundamentally we’re asking for pennies. If you go from one cent to two cents, it’s a 100 percent.”

According to Sunbeam, there are 270K DirecTV subscribers in the market.

In addition to providing highly-sought programming to the citizens of Miami, the station stepped up and bought tickets to an NFL game between the local Dolphins and the Washington Redskins last November, preventing a local blackout. The Dolphins used to tickets to thank active duty and veteran members of the US armed forces for their service, and of course football fans throughout the Miami DMA also benefitted.

RBR-TVBR observation: The bottom line here is that the station is putting its overall value to viewers on the line, not just on a one-time hot-ticket program on its schedule. In this and in other ways it has demonstrated its commitment to the citizens of Miami, unlike this MVPD which generates no local programming of its own and apparently can’t see beyond its own ledgers.