Football and showbiz fans in Boston and Miami took a hit Sunday as a carriage dispute between DirecTV and Sunbeam Television left subscribers unable to view the Packers-Giants NFL playoff game and then the Golden Globes.
About 250,000 customers of Fox-affiliate WSVN in Miami and another 200,000 viewers of Boston's CW affiliate WLVI and NBC affiliate WHDH were left in the dark. Sunbeam pulled its programming at midnight Friday after an 11th-hour effort to strike a deal failed.
A subsequent request Sunday to air the football game despite the lack of a contract was turned down just before kickoff by Sunbeam, according to DirecTV.
The lack of Globes coverage set off a storm of Twitter protests to DirecTV that continued throughout the broadcast. The satellite company tweeted back to customers directions on how they might pick up the signal from out-of-area transmissions.
In a statement, DirecTV told its subscribers that it was "working hard to bring back your local channel as quickly as possible, but we are standing firm on behalf of our customers against Sunbeam and WHDH, LLC attempts to extort a more than 300 percent fee increase to carry WSVN in Miami, and WHDH and WLVI in Boston. Paying such outrageous fees will only cause your DIRECTV bill to go even higher and we are doing everything we can to prevent that."
Sunbeam wasn't talking but WHDH said on its web site that it was working to make a deal as well, but "until we do you will not be able to view WHDH and WLVI on DirecTV, but you can receive Channel 7 and Channel 56 over the air and from other cable and satellite providers. We are seeking fair market value for the transmission of our signal. We have been able to negotiate deals with several other providers."