Yesterday, after being unable to reach a deal, Sinclair-owned CBS stations are no longer available on Hulu Live TV. Sinclair owns 23 local CBS affiliates, which tend to be outside the largest markets.
Some markets affected are Austin (KEYE), Salt Lake City (KUTV), Bakersfield, CA (KBAK-TV), West Palm Beach, FL (WPEC), Gainesville (WGFL), Cedar Rapids (KGAN), Boise, ID (KBOI-TV), Grand Rapids (WWMT), Albany, NY (WRGB), Syracuse (WTVH), and Eugene (KVAL).
A spokesperson for Sinclair Broadcast Group told The Streamable:
After careful consideration, Sinclair has decided at this time not to opt into the distribution deal Hulu is offering to CBS affiliates. As a result, Sinclair’s CBS affiliates are no longer available on Hulu + Live TV.
We believe that the deal as-is significantly undervalues the important local news, sports, and other programming on our stations. With COVID-19 and other major news concerns, SEC football and upcoming NFL playoffs/Super Bowl, we encourage viewers to reach out to Hulu directly to voice their displeasure, or to switch to one of the many providers who continue to carry this highly-desirable programming.
In order to gain wide carriage of CBS across Live TV Streaming Services, ViacomCBS can negotiate a standard agreement for all CBS affiliates. However, affiliate owners, like Sinclair are able to choose not to participate in those deals if they want to negotiate for better terms directly.
In a message to customers, Hulu said:
We wanted to let you know that as of December 16, Hulu no longer has the rights to distribute the local CBS affiliate that was previously included with your Live TV plan.
You’ll still be able to watch new episodes of many popular shows like The Amazing Race, 48 Hours, and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and more on-demand shortly after they air, but unfortunately live CBS broadcasts (including NFL games and local news) will be unavailable.
This is the second major dispute between Sinclair and Hulu in as many weeks. In October, after failing to reach a deal, Hulu dropped Sinclair-owned Fox Sports RSNs from the service.
In October, Hulu also lost 20+ Nexstar-owned ABC affiliates. In those markets however, Hulu replaced the channels with a national ABC feed which carries live sports, daytime, and primetime programming.
Sinclair-owned Tennis Channel was dropped by YouTube TV earlier this month, just two months after the service dropped Fox Sports RSNs.