Verizon has pulled Spanish-language broadcaster Univision from its Fios and mobile services, Univision Communications said in a statement Monday night, signaling another brewing fracas between a TV company and a distributor in recent weeks.
Univsion said its programming was taken off of Verizon-owned venue at around 5 p.m. eastern time Monday. The decision, Univision said, “came entirely without warning.” In a statement, Verizon said “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.”
“Verizon chose to take this unprecedented action despite Univision’s offer of an extension of the current agreement,” the company said in a statement. ” 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 said it remained “committed to providing a wide variety of great Spanish-language entertainment options to our customers,: noting it had “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.”
Viacom and Charter Communications are currently in late discussions about keeping Viacom-owned networks like Comedy Central and MTV on Charter’s Spectrum service. An agreement between the two parties expired Sunday, but each side agreed to a new short-term agreement that allowed negotiations to continue without an interruption of service. Earlier this month, Walt Disney and Altice struck a deal that keeps ESPN, ABC, Disney Channel and other networks on Altice’s service, which is primarily based around the New York metropolitan area.
Univision had a similar dispute with Charter Communications earlier this year and wrangled with AT&T in discussions last year, which resulted in a brief period during which Univision was not available on AT&T’s service.