EXCLUSIVE: Univision’s long-running battle over carriage terms with Charter Communications is about to affect the No. 2 cable company’s customers, the Spanish language broadcaster is preparing to warn subscribers.
They “may lose access to Univision’s networks and stations,” the company says due to an “unfortunate impasse” in their negotiations.
“This is a perfect example of how a behemoth cable company like Charter uses its excessive market power to harm content companies and the millions of subscribers who rely on Univision and its suite of networks for vital news and information in language,” the company says. “Despite Univision’s many attempts to resolve the dispute by offering good-faith settlement solutions, Charter has rejected all of Univision’s efforts….Univision is committed to continuing to fight for the dignity and value of our community in the marketplace and the important role we play in providing a voice for Hispanic America during these uncertain times.”
Responding to Univision’s warning, Charter says: “We have a contract with Univision and expect them to honor it.”
The battle goes back to July when Univision sued Charter at New York Supreme Court. The broadcaster wanted the cable company to pay carriage rates it negotiated, while Charter wanted to use the lower rates paid by Time Warner Cable — which it acquired in May.
Univision’s suit said that a 2014 carriage deal with Charter was due to expire on June 30 and contained “a heavily-negotiated provision concerning corporate acquisitions that governs the precise situation here.”
Univision allowed Charter to continue carrying its services through this month while they negotiated. The two sides are still in the discovery phase of the lawsuit. Charter filed a limited motion to dismiss.
The Spanish language broadcasters’ statement comes about a week after it renewed a carriage deal with Comcast — owner of NBCUniversal which owns Univision rival Telemundo. That agreement gave the No. 1 cable operator continued access to Univision, UniMás and Galavisión as well as the O&Os.