DirecTV Now, Sling and Vue Golden Globes blackout exposes broadcast limitations for v-MVPD services

Sling TV
NBCUniversal didn’t secure streaming rights for the Golden Globes, leaving users of Sling, Playstation Vue and DirecTV Now unable to watch it.

The question of whether virtual-MVPD services are true replacements for traditional pay-TV platforms got an answer Sunday, with users of Sling TV, Sony PlayStation Vue and DirecTV Now unable to view the Golden Globes.

As it turned out, NBCUniversal didn’t secure streaming rights for the glitzy, booze-soaked Hollywood Foreign Press Association awards show.

Regardless of your opinion on the merit of Hollywood’s annual self-congratulatory televised events, this one matters to the TV business. NBC’s broadcast averaged 20 million viewers, and it was the top-rated programming event on television Sunday.

Responding with a statement, NBCU said it continues to negotiate with producers of the Golden Globe Awards, Dick Clark Productions, and that it hopes to have streaming rights to the event in the future.

NBCU didn’t specify what other major programming events virtual pay-TV viewers might be unable to see.

Of course, many subscribers to these new OTT services don’t have access to NBC at all. Indeed, while DirecTV Now, Sling TV and PlayStation Vue all tout carriage of ABC, FOX and NBCUniversal, on a market by market level, these services can only carry a network if they have a deal with the local affiliate’s station group.

In the major markets, of course, this isn’t an issue, with these major networks owning their stations in places like New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

For its part, CBS Corp.—which isn't carried by DirecTV Now or Sling TV—kept the viewing public up to date as it made its station deals for SVOD service CBS All Access in 2015. For example, in July 2015, CBS put out a press release announcing that All Access had deals with 40 affiliate groups in addition to CBS’ 14 owned and operated stations, and that the service was now available in 75% of the country.

None of the current big three v-MVPD providers have announced the clearance status of their broadcast channels to date. FierceCable put out inquiries to all three and is still waiting for the responses.