Univision Blasts ‘Discriminatory Behavior’ as Stations Go Dark on AT&T’s U-verse

Univision Communications Logo
Courtesy of Univision Communications

Univision-owned stations went dark on AT&T’s U-verse platform early Friday, prompting the Spanish-language broadcaster to blast the telecom giant for “discriminatory behavior” and audience “redlining” in retransmission consent negotiations.

Univision asserted that AT&T would not agree to retrans terms for Univision’s stations that are commensurate with fees paid to the English-language stations. AT&T disputed that characterization, accusing Univision of seeking “an outrageous price increase.” AT&T also said it hoped to resolve the blackout soon.

Univision owns 60 stations serving 19 markets, including Puerto Rico, that are affiliated with the mothership network and its UniMas broadcast sibling. The U-verse dispute affects Univision-owned stations in 29 cities, as well as Univision’s national feeds for its networks in 43 other cities, plus the feeds for seven channels offering a mix of vintage movies, telenovelas and music. The signals and feeds went dark as of midnight ET on Thursday.

“Despite Univision’s tireless efforts to reach an agreement, AT&T is denying its U-verse customers access to our networks and stations, which have the most popular Spanish-language news, sports and entertainment. AT&T is redlining our audience by refusing to recognize the value of the Univision networks and the consumers we serve,” Univision said in a statement.

“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,” Univision said.

U-verse serves about 5.9 million subscribers. The telco platform launched video service in 2006, but U-verse is now taking a backseat within AT&T to the larger DirecTV, which AT&T acquired for $49 billion last year. There was speculation that AT&T might shift U-verse customers who complained about the loss of Univision to DirecTV — something that would suit AT&T larger goals.

“Univision has blocked our U-verse customers from receiving most of their channels. This is about nothing more than Univision demanding we pay an outrageous price increase,” AT&T said in a statement. “We are fighting for all of our customers to keep what Univision charges at a reasonable amount. Numerous and diverse programming deals we have signed recently prove this can be accomplished. We hope to resolve this matter quickly and appreciate our customers’ patience.”

AT&T also responded to Univision’s charge that ethnic discrimination is playing a role in the dispute.

“Spanish-language channels are important to us and our customers. That’s why we carry 78 Spanish-language channels,” AT&T said.

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  1. Thomas Kink says:

    Oh well….. I won’t miss it. English is the prime language for the USA, period….

  2. Mary Mirelez says:

    I think this a bunch of crap and the ones suffering are the customers….We have no say in what you do. I’m sure both are losing customer. I also wonder if this is another ploy since Uverse is no longer going to be offered and AT&T is pushing Direct TV. Corporate Greed on both parts. The giants crush the consumers. Not fair. I am lucky that I am able to speak both languages. Although my preference is English I do support my Novelas have for years.

  3. Ofelia says:

    Stupid companies. Greed in both companies is pathetic. I hope they both go out of business. I also hope people not to let those companies to increase the subscription. They are many other channels to watch, they are not the only one.

  4. Carlos Perez says:

    I will cancel ATT and not go to Direct TV. Talked about bribery at its best. I have 2 contracts with ATT and they will both be cancelled

  5. elisa villalba says:

    I could care less if Univision ever come back. They are racist punks!!!

  6. Burt Ward says:

    Telemundo and univision are the reasons I do not pay for any umbilical tv services. Why should I pay a portion of my honest earned, hard earned income to bolster their profit margins when they offer absolutely nothing for me. Once I can chose a viewing option where none of the subscription money I pay goes to these worthless kegholes, I will consider rejoining the paid tv sector. But until I can filter out such stations, I will not pay for such programming. Right now, I just view ATSC over the air free services. I also have a netflix sub. Once Dish or cable services start to offer me options not to subsidize these pseudo entertainment networks and more like terror supporting networks (Al Jazeera), I’ll stay where I am.

  7. Raven Black says:

    At&t so does this mean since your not providing us with the channels you promised in our contract ,it then becomes voided from your side?.😯
    They better agree soon to Univision before all the customers figure this out and they get massive amount of people canceling their service. 😕

    • Vsualize says:

      I cancelled the service and they still want me to pay for ending contract even though it was their fault, what a load of sh**

  8. Hersson Jaimes says:

    at&t costumer service sucks, and now the came up with this shit im switching now, and direct tv sucks too,

  9. The commercial income demos for Spanish-language programming is less than English-speaking. Hence, lower rates.

  10. Lisandroacosta says:

    In this particular case ATT U-VERSE will not give any more money of what they are paying currently just because they can make the customer switch to their new Direct TV service.. and I think they intent to do that on every negotiation from now on

  11. Maria Alvarez says:

    So Pissed off at ATT. Calling this morning to Ca cancel. This shit stinks

  12. Ernesto Elizondo says:

    The heck with AT&T… I already changed my service [TV & Internet] to Dish… well done UNIVISION!!!

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