UPDATED with Verizon statement: In a surprise move, Univision was dropped from Verizon FiOS today at about 5 PM East Coast time, where most of the 5 million or so affected customers are. The Spanish-language broadcaster issued a statement about the channel-drop this afternoon:
“At 5pm EST on October 16, 2017, entirely without warning, Verizon pulled Univision’s signal from both its FiOS and mobile platforms, leaving consumers without access to the news, information and entertainment they rely on.
“Verizon chose to take this unprecedented action despite Univision’s offer of an extension of the current agreement. In light of recent natural disasters and current events impacting the Hispanic community, we are surprised and deeply concerned that Verizon would remove us from its systems – and without warning to its customers. We urge Verizon to put Univision back on and come back to the negotiating table and prove its commitment to the Hispanic community and show that it understands the value of Spanish-language programming.”
Verizon also issued a statement:
“Our goal as always is to provide our customers the best possible TV experience while keeping prices as low as possible. Unfortunately Univision is proposing an increase of more than double what they charge for access to their channels today. In addition to the unfortunate timing of this excessive price increase, we believe the appeal for Univision’s programming is waning given their reported declining viewership. We’ve provided Univision a reasonable offer to continue providing our customers access to their channels. Unfortunately they rejected that offer and as a result we no longer have rights to bring them those channels. This is the same tactic Univision has used with multiple cable providers this year and last year.
“Verizon is committed to providing a wide variety of great Spanish-language entertainment options to our customers. Given the recent natural disasters in Puerto Rico, we worked with the owners of WAPA America and TV Dominicana to make these channels available to all our customers at no additional charge. This is in addition to an already strong line-up that includes channels like Telemundo, Discovery en Espanol, Telemicro Internacional and TVE Internacional.”
The sides had been negotiating, but being dropped appears to have caught Univision off guard.
According to the Wall Street Journal, a Verizon FiOS spokesman said Univision is proposing an increase “of more than double what they charge for access to their channels today” and the push for a price increase comes at a time when “we believe the appeal for Univision programming is waning given their reported declining viewership.”
The news comes the same day that Viacom and Charter agreed to extend negotiations on their carriage deal.