UPDATE, 3:31 PM: AT&T just released a new statement, continuing today’s volley of charges and countercharges with Univision. When they couldn’t agree on contract renewal terms on Friday, the Spanish language broadcaster “pulled” its channels from U-Verse “despite our offer to extend the carriage agreement temporarily while a new long-term agreement was being worked out,” says Jim Cicconi, AT&T’s Senior EVP External and Legislative Affairs.
He adds that his company carries 78 Spanish-language channels and is willing to pay “fair, market rates for content so U-Verse customers are protected from big increases in their bills.”
PREVIOUS, 11:48 AM: Univision went dark on AT&T’s U-Verse systems Friday after the companies failed to agree on a carriage extension deal — and it doesn’t look as though a quick settlement is in the cards based on the companies’ escalating war of words.
Univision “stooped to despicable allegations in an effort to extort an outrageous price increase — an increase which ultimately will come at the expense of all our customers, including Univision viewers,” said Jim Cicconi, AT&T’s Senior EVP External and Legislative Affairs.
He said his company wants to “offer a wide range of content for our Hispanic viewers, while keeping cost increases, and bills, down as much as possible. If Univision really cares about their audiences, they will immediately restore their channels to U-Verse homes while we figure this out.”
His counterpart at Univision, EVP Government Relations and Public Policy Jessica Herrera-Flanigan, just fired back, saying the broadcaster is “proud to stand with the Hispanic community, regardless of the costs to Univision.”
She adds that the company is “standing up for the future of multicultural media and the opportunity for it to thrive in a multiplatform marketplace. … If, as the most popular Spanish-language broadcaster, we do not take a stand and require the distributors treat us on par with English-language broadcasters, what does that mean for the minority and independent creators that come after us?”
The dispute affects the Univision broadcast network as well as UniMás, Galavisión and Univision Deportes NetworkCharge. U-Verse has about 5.6 million subscribers.