×

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

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.

More TV

  • Whoopi Goldberg addresses the crowd while

    Inside World Pride's Opening Ceremony: An LGBTQ Celebration With a Tinge of Politics

    World Pride officially kicked off on Wednesday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. About 8,000 people packed into the arena for a three-hour show that began with Cyndi Lauper singing her hit “True Colors.” The performance ended with a gaggle of dancing drag queens who pranced alongside Lauper as she turned the train of [...]

  • Democratic presidential candidate Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth

    The Messy NBC Democratic Debate Proves the Need for a Tier System (Column)

    The opening night of the first debates of the 2020 Democratic Party primaries brought — even by the standards of such way-far-out confrontations between candidates for whom the election remains a far-off dream — vastly more empty drama than new information. But then, that may have been by design. NBC News’s organization of the debates, [...]

  • Max Wright Dead

    'Alf' Actor Max Wright Dies at 75

    Max Wright, best known for playing patriarch Willie Tanner on the sitcom “Alf,” died Wednesday. He was 75. Wright’s family confirmed his death to TMZ. The actor died in his home in Hermosa Beach, Calif., after years of battling cancer. Wright was diagnosed with Lymphona in 1995. Wright is most famous for his role as [...]

  • Greyson Chance -Gabby Barrett Alejandro Aranda

    Greyson Chance, 'Idol' Alums Gabby Barrett and Alejandro Aranda Sign Major Label Deals

    Two “American Idol” alumni — Gabby Barrett and Alejandro Aranda — as well as viral star Greyson Chance all announced new major label recording contracts this week. Barrett, who finished in third place of the first season of the rebooted ABC version of “Idol,” has joined the roster of Warner Music Nashville. The singer had [...]

  • amazon-studios

    YouTube Head of Scripted Jon Wax in Talks to Join Amazon Studios

    YouTube’s head of scripted programming, Jon Wax, is in talks to join Amazon Studios, according to an individual with knowledge of the matter. Wax is said to be in discussions for head of genre programming at Amazon, a position held by Sharon Tal Yguado until recently. Variety reported on her exit in early May. The [...]

  • WGA Agency Packaging Fight Placeholder Writer

    WGA Takes Aim at Endeavor IPO, Tells Members It Has 'Sufficient Funds' for Legal Battle

    The Writers Guild of America has gone to the Securities and Exchange Commission in its battle with Hollywood’s largest talent agencies over the issue of packaging fees and affiliated production. The guild sent a letter to William Hinman, director of the SEC’s corporate finance division, the guild accuses WME parent company Endeavor of misrepresenting the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content