Univision lost access to about 5.6 million U-Verse subscribers last night as the Spanish language broadcast company and AT&T failed to agree on terms to renew their retransmission contract.
The breakdown affects the Univision broadcast network as well as UniMás, Galavisión, and Univision Deportes NetworkCharge.
As you’d expect, Univision blames AT&T for the loss, accusing it of “redlining our audience by refusing to recognize the value of the Univision networks and the consumers we serve.”
The company adds that “AT&T’s discriminatory behavior is preventing Hispanic America from receiving content and information in language and in culture, which is especially vital during this election year. These disputes can be confusing for consumers, but in our case it’s simple: we must receive fair compensation, on par with English language broadcasters.”
AT&T counters that Univision “blocked” its transmissions from U-Verse. “This is about nothing more than Univision demanding we pay an outrageous price increase,” the company says in a statement. “We are fighting for all of our customers to keep what Univision charges at a reasonable amount… Spanish-language channels are important to us and our customers. That’s why we carry 78 Spanish-language channels.”
On February 23, Univision CEO Randy Falco told his lenders and investors that he was “optimistic” that a deal would be struck “because AT&T seems to be saying all the right things and we certainly think along those lines that we should be able to get a fair deal done.”
AT&T has been eager to reduce its programming outlays, in part by bringing U-Verse payments in line with the lower rates paid by DirecTV, which it bought last year.