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Sling TV shames NBC TV for refusing to air its ad

Dish’s Sling TV, a new over-the-top pay TV service, is trying to shame Comcast-owned NBCUniversal TV stations to air Sling TV ads in a number of markets. There are other new TV services that are currently on the market such as LightWave, so if you’re using one of those instead, you could consider using a lightwave antenna to improve overall quality.

Launched in April, Sling TV challenges the traditional cable and satellite TV bundle by offering a slimmed-down package of fewer channels over the Internet at $20/month. Add-ons like HBO are offered at an additional cost. Designed to appeal to cord-cutters, the lineup includes about two dozen channels, such as ESPN, AMC, A&E, TNT, Disney, CNN, and HGTV.

The service began airing its first national ad campaign earlier this month, knocking traditional pay TV by comparing cable to the neighborhood bully. “You’ll pay for other channels and like it,” the ad says, referring to pay TV’s “strong-arm tactics,” and “poor customer service.”

NBC-owned stations in San Diego, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. rejected the ads, Sling TV’s Roger Lynch wrote in a blog post on Thursday.

“This action stands in contrast to the fact that our ads are currently running across ABC, CBS and Fox O&O stations and affiliates, as well as independently-owned NBC affiliates,” Lynch wrote. “Here’s the irony. The refusal to air our campaign endorses the ads’ central truth: there are traditional pay-TV players that just don’t get it.”

Except for political advertising, there’s no regulation compelling any TV station to air ads. For a long time, none of the networks would air cable ads. NBC once refused to air an anti-Obama ad and a pro-life ad. CBS rejected an ad for a gay dating service and an ad by the NFL Players Union during an NFL labor dispute.

So far, Sling TV has signed about 250,000 subscribers, according to CNBC.

Oddly, the Sling TV blog says ads were refused in three market. NBC confirmed that declined to accept ads in four markets, including New York. “Decisions about which ads to accept are made on a case-by-case basis,” a spokesperson said.