Senator John Kerry urges local televisions like Sunbeam and DirecTV to solve their dispute before 200,000 people in the Greater Boston area miss the 2012 Super Bowl transmission, says the Boston Herald. The dispute began when Sunbeam Television decided to pull Channel 7 and WLVI from DirecTV’s Greater Boston service on January 14. DirecTV and Sunbeam television are now trying to reach an agreement over the “retransmission consent fees” included in the updated contract.
Similar disputes are very frequent among cable companies, TV stations and satellite firms because the current economic recession has determined everyone to try to make more money. Cable and satellite TV providers usually have to pay a monthly fee of 50-cent-per-customer for stations to carry a given channel.
WHDH is NBC’s Boston affiliate provided by Sunbeam television. NBC will broadcast the Super Bowl on February 5 and if the dispute is not solved until then people living in Boston will not be able to watch the show. The situation is all the more upsetting as the representative team of the Greater Boston, New England Patriots, is expected to play at the Super Bowl.
DirecTV and Sunbeam have been addressed by Sen. John Kerry, Scott Brown and the 10 House members of the state. All of them urge the two companies to reach an agreement as soon as possible. Kerry even went further threatening DirecTV that the Federal Communications Commission will be appointed to solve the problem if the contract isn’t signed soon.
John Kerry thinks the Super Bowl is used by the two companies as leverage in the resolution of their problems. Consequently, the Senator asked the Federal Communications Commission to make sure that major live events will not be used to influence similar negotiations in the future. He further asked the two sides that they restore at least WHDH’s signal to DirecTV for the Super Bowl because people living in Greater Boston don’t deserve to become collateral damage in this dispute.
DirecTV assured John Kerry that Channel 7 will be immediately restored to customers in Greater Boston even though negotiations haven’t been solved. Sunbeam television, on the other hand, is not willing to restore its signal at the moment.