×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Univision Warns of Possible Charter Communications Blackout in New York, L.A.

Univision stations in New York, Los Angeles and other big markets could go dark for Charter Communications subscribers at the end of the month as the Spanish-language giant tussles over carriage terms with the nation’s second-largest cable operator.

The two sides are already in litigation over what Univision says is Charter’s breach of contract agreements that predate its merger with Time Warner Cable, which was completed last year. Univision maintains that the merger required Charter to renegotiate its retransmission consent agreement to carry Univision’s stations.

Univision began warning viewers of the potential blackout with on-air messages in the affected markets. Charter, meanwhile, maintains that it has a long-term contract to carry Univision’s stations. That could set the stage for legal action by Charter to bar Univision from pulling its signals.

“We have a contract with Univision and expect them to honor it,” Charter said in a statement.

It’s not clear how many Univision O&Os are in Charter markets, but Charter is the largest cable provider in New York and Los Angeles, and it has a big presence in Texas — all some of which are big markets for Spanish-language TV.

Univision has accused Charter of throwing its weight around at the expense of consumers at a time when the news and information Univision provides to Spanish-speaking viewers is more vital than ever, given the political climate in the country and President Trump’s plans regarding economic and immigration policies. Univision said its efforts to reach a settlement to allow the stations to stay up have been rejected.

“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,” Univision said. “Despite Univision’s many attempts to resolve the dispute by offering good-faith settlement solutions, Charter has rejected all of Univision’s efforts. Given this unfortunate impasse, Univision has no choice but to inform Charter’s customers that they may lose access to Univision’s networks and stations. 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.”

The fight boils down to a dispute over which contracts govern Charter’s deals with Univision — the pre-merger contracts that Charter had in force, or the deals that Time Warner Cable had in place at the time of the merger. Time Warner Cable was a much bigger provider than Charter, so it was able to secure more advantageous terms for retransmission consent with Univision. Univision maintains that Charter is in breach of its pre-merger contract because the company has shifted to paying Univision under the more favorable Time Warner Cable terms across the board.

Fox News has a lawsuit pending against Charter on similar grounds.

A showdown with Univision could be the first big public relations battle for Charter since it vaulted into the top echelon of MVPDs. Charter at present has about 17 million video subscribers. A disruption in service for Univision on Charter systems could be politically touchy for the company at a time when there is heightened attention to diversity and inclusion in the media and cultural landscape.

More TV

  • ‘Hitsville: The Making of Motown’ Acquired

    ‘Hitsville: The Making of Motown’ Acquired by Showtime for U.S.

    Polygram Entertainment, Universal Music Group’s film and television division, along with Capitol Music Group, Motown Records and Fulwell 73 announced today that “Hitville: The Making of Motown” has been acquired by Showtime for release in North America with plans for a fall premiere, and Altitude for theatrical release in the UK and Ireland. The feature-length [...]

  • Game of Thrones Cast

    What's Next for 'Game of Thrones'' Cast Members

    Eight years and eight seasons later, the “Game of Thrones” cast finally has some downtime to relax or move onto other projects. Some stars, like Kit Harington, who told Variety that he doesn’t plan on taking another role as physically demanding as Jon Snow, certainly deserve a break, but others have wasted no time getting back on [...]

  • 'Fleabag' Season 2 Review: How Its

    'Fleabag': Season 2’s Top 10 Breaks From Reality, Ranked (Column)

    The searing first season of “Fleabag” felt like a complete story in and of itself. As adapted from Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s one-woman show, the series expanded on the world of a woman wild with lust and grief with such expert ease that by the time it ended, even Waller-Bridge herself was sure that it was the [...]

  • Richard Madden Says 'Game of Thrones'

    Richard Madden Says the 'Game of Thrones' Cast Deserves a Medal

    Richard Madden is thankful for his time on “Game of Thrones,” but is also happy to have been able to move on when he did. The “Bodyguard” star sat down with “Sharper Objects'” Amy Adams for Variety’s Actors on Actors, where he expressed some incredulity at the idea of spending so long with just one [...]

  • MEET THE PRESS -- Pictured: (l-r)

    Submissions Now Welcome for Third 'Meet the Press' Film Festival

    Chuck Todd’s quest to bring “Meet the Press” to the movies continues. The third annual Meet the Press Film Festival, held in collaboration with the American Film Institute, will take place on October 6 and 7 in Washington, D.C., and remains a haven for issue-focused documentary shorts. Todd believes the event serves a critical mission: [...]

  • Winner of the 2019 Eurovision Song

    Netherlands' Duncan Laurence Wins 2019 Eurovision Song Contest

    Madonna’s controversial performance may have grabbed the headlines, but Duncan Laurence won the nearly four-hour-long 2019 Eurovision Song Contest for the Netherlands with the song “Arcade,” which he cowrote with Joel Sjöö and Wouter Hardy. Laurence won a total of 492 points from the expert juries and televoters in a contest that was touch and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content