PlayStation Vue, DIRECTV NOW, and Local Affiliates

Streaming appeals to people who enjoy watching original series and movies. Others turn to streaming as way of cut the cord on cable TV, its expensive bills, and poor customer service. If streaming local TV channels is important to you, there’s something you should know. Streaming service providers have to pay local TV affiliates to stream their feeds. If a provider acquires too many of these affiliates, these costs could get passed down to subscribers in terms of monthly rates. Could this be the reason that one streaming service recently dropped its affiliation with one media company while others continue to add new affiliates?

PlayStation Vue Drops Sinclair-Owned Local Affiliates

If you’re a PlayStation Vue streamer who enjoy your local Sinclair-owned TV affiliates, we have some bad news for you. At 11 PM EST, April 30, PlayStation Vue began to pull its Sinclair-owned local TV affiliates. This included ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC stations. Any shows on these channels that were recorded with the DVR were deleted.

While this purge might seem sudden, subscriber were warned about this in this email sent to PlayStation Vue subscribers:

“We are writing to inform you that on 5/1/18, the (ABC, CBS, FOX, or NBC local in your area) live local broadcast channel in your area will be replaced with an On Demand version of the channel. 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. To modify your subscription or find out how to contact us please visit Thank you for being a valued PlayStation Vue subscriber. The PlayStation Vue team.”

At the time, Sony did not give subscribers a reason why the Sinclair local channels were removed from PlayStation Vue. A week after the drop went down, Sinclair released a statement to CordCuttersTalk on what happened. Issued by Barry Faber, Sinclair EVP Network Relations and Distribution, the statement read:

“We regret Sony was not willing to meet certain requirements for carrying our stations. We remind Sony subscribers that there are other video distributor options available to receive our broadcast stations’ programming, including Sony’s direct competitor YouTube TV, which continues to carry stations that Sony has dropped. Fortunately, subscribers to PlayStation Vue can terminate their subscriptions with ease and without termination fees.”

It’s important to note that Sony’s recent decision to drop Sinclair could be an anomaly. Earlier this year, PlayStation Vue added other local TV affiliates to its live TV app. This sudden decision could raise some questions that might or might not be answered.

DIRECTV NOW Adds More Local TV Affiliates

While PlayStation Vue has dropped its local Sinclair affiliates, DIRECTV added more. The streaming service provider also added affiliates from other media corporations. Earlier this week, DIRECTV NOW added many Sinclair-owned locals. Now, it looks like Nexstar is getting more locals. DIRECTV NOW users across the country have reported finding these local affiliates in their live TV app:

  • NBC WOAI in San Antonio, a Sinclair owned NBC affiliate
  • WFLA-TV, a Nexstar-owned NBC affiliate in Tampa, Florida

DIRECTV NOW is not the only streaming service provider that is adding local TV affiliates. Hulu has many Sinclar-owned locals. YouTube TV and Sinclair struck a deal to bring the broadcasting company’s local affiliates to the live TV streaming service. fuboTV has plenty of Sinclair-owned CBS, Fox, and CBS locals. Many of these acquisitions have been reported in previous Streaming Saturday columns.

A TV Antenna is Still the Best…

As noted earlier, there are many different forms of streaming. For some people, it’s watching their favorite shows and series at home on Netflix. For others, it’s watching news, sports, and entertainment on their devices at home or on the go. For those who still love their local TV stations, there’s still nothing better than a TV antenna. These devices get the widest range of channels and sub-channels in any given media market, and deliver the content in stunning high-definition reception. The best part about a TV antenna is that it’s a one-time investment. Once you purchase it and get it up and running, you can enjoy free local TV for life. While the mention of a TV antenna might seem out of place for a streaming article, it’s an option that streamers who love local TV should consider.

About the Author

Jake Buckler
Jake Buckler is a cord-cutter, consumer electronics geek, and Celtic folk music fan. Those qualities, and his writing experience, helped him land a copywriting gig at Signal Group, LLC. He also contributes to The Solid Signal Blog.