Just over a day after the Spanish-language network went dark on Charter over a carriage dispute, Univision is coming back on for cable subscribers — for now. “Today, the Supreme Court for the State of New York granted Charter a temporary restraining order, meaning that Univision programming will be returned to our customers,” a Charter Communications spokesperson said Thursday.
“A judge who was temporarily assigned to our case today said that she planned to issue an order that Univision’s networks and stations had to be restored on Charter Spectrum for 7 days,” said Univision in a cautioning statement of its own of the new normal with the country’s second-biggest cable company. “This order only lasts until February 9, when the judge permanently assigned to the litigation is back in court.”
The move by Justice Saliann Scarpulla came after Charter made an emergency motion yesterday after the net pulled its Univision, Unimás, Galavisión, Univision Deportes and El Rey signals from Charter-Spectrum’s service and its more than 2.5 million Hispanic customers. “Charter Communications has continually rejected all of UCI’s repeated, good-faith efforts to reach an agreement,” said Univision in a statement on Wednesday after unplugging, so to speak.
“For the 7-day period that it is receiving Univision’s services, Charter Spectrum will be required to post a bond covering the actual market value of Univision’s programming, rather than the inadequate rates that Charter Spectrum has been paying,” Univision reps noted after today’s court action. Before everything went dark at midnight ET on January 31, Univision had been running TV spots warning viewers that their Charter-Spectrum service could be halted because of the corporate battle. The ads encouraged viewers to contact the cable company with their concerns — even though it was Univision that would be pulling the plug.
The showdown started last summer when Univision first took Charter to court over their carriage dispute. The Spanish-language net wanted the cable company to pay the carriage rates it negotiated itself. However, playing all the cards in its now-enlarged deck, Charter wanted to use the lower rates paid by Time Warner Cable, which it acquired in May.
Univision allowed Charter to continue carrying its services through this month while they negotiated. The two sides are in the discovery phase of the lawsuit — which means, even with this temporary ceasing of hostilities, there is a long way to go before this is really over.