×

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

  • SDCC TV News Roundup: Syfy Releases

    SDCC TV News Roundup: Syfy Releases 'The Magicians' Season 5 Clip (Watch)

    In today’s SDCC TV news roundup, Syfy shares a clip from “The Magicians” Season 5, and Amazon sets the Season 4 premiere of “The Expanse.” CASTING Julie Gonzalo and Staz Nair have joined the cast of “Supergirl” for its upcoming fifth season. Gonzalo will portray iconic DC character Andrea Rojas aka Acrata, a polished businesswoman [...]

  • Doom Patrol -- Ep. 101 --

    'Doom Patrol' Renewed, Season 2 to Stream on DC Universe and HBO Max

    “Doom Patrol” has been renewed for a second season and will soon be available outside of DC Universe. At San Diego Comic-Con, series executive producer Jeremy Carver and star Diane Guerrero announced not only that the show will be back for another season but also that it will be available on HBO Max, the upcoming [...]

  • Teyonah Parris

    Teyonah Parris Cast in 'WandaVision' at Disney Plus

    “Mad Men” and “If Beale Street Could Talk” actress Teyonah Parris has been cast in Disney Plus’ “Wanda Vision” series. She will play an adult version of Monica Rambeau, a child character introduced in the film “Captain Marvel.” The announcement was made at Marvel’s Comic-Con presentation. The forthcoming Disney+ series about Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth [...]

  • Zachary Quinto as Charlie Manx - NOS4A2

    'NOS4A2' Renewed for Season 2 at AMC

    AMC has renewed “NOS4A2” for a second season. The news was announced during the show’s panel at San Diego Comic-Con and ahead of the Season 1 finale. Season 2 will consist of 10 episodes and is slated to air in 2020. The series, which is based on the 2013 Joe Hill novel of the same [...]

  • Gabrielle Carteris

    SAG-AFTRA Signs Netflix Deal With Expanded Coverage

    SAG-AFTRA and streaming giant Netflix have agreed to a new three-year contract with expanded coverage for union performers. Netflix has previously employed SAG-AFTRA members under the union’s standard master contracts for television and film and had been signing on a production by production basis. The union announced Saturday that the new deal recognizes performance capture as covered work [...]

  • Cara Delevingne'Carnival Row' TV show photocall,

    Cara Delevingne Says Her 'Carnival Row' Character Is Pansexual, Explains Defending Taylor Swift Against Justin Bieber

    Cara Delevingne and Orlando Bloom’s love affair may be at the center of the upcoming Amazon Prime Video series “Carnival Row,” but the British actress doesn’t want viewers to assume her faerie character is heterosexual. “I’m a pansexual faerie,” Delevingne told Variety during an exclusive one-on-one interview at Comic-Con adding that there are other queer [...]

  • 'Russian Doll' Star Charlie Barnett Joins

    'Russian Doll' Star Charlie Barnett Joins 'Arrow' Final Season

    “Russian Doll” standout Charlie Barnett is joining the “Arrowverse.” Barnett, who is having a busy year having also appeared in Netflix’s “Tales of the City,” comes on board in the series regular role of John Diggle, Jr., son of David Ramsey’s character. News of his casting was announced at the show’s farewell Comic-Con panel where things [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content