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Judge Orders Univision Stations Back on Charter After Blackout

Univision stations are going back up on Charter Communications after a New York judge issued a temporary restraining order in the carriage battle between the Spanish-language media giant and the cable operator.

Univision stations in 37 markets, including New York and Los Angeles, went dark at midnight Tuesday as the sides battle over interpretations of the contract governing Univision’s restransmission consent agreement with Charter. On Thursday, a New York Supreme Court judge ordered Univision’s O&O station signals restored to Charter systems for seven days while the sides fight it out in court.

The judge’s order applies to Univision O&Os across all of the affected Charter markets. Most of the signals went back up on Charter systems Thursday evening.

Univision noted that the judge’s order requires Charter to post a bond covering “the actual market value of Univision programming, rather than the inadequate rates that Charter Spectrum has been paying.”

Univision filed a lawsuit against Charter in July 2016 after the companies scuffled over the retrans contract terms. Univision maintains that Charter’s merger last year with Time Warner Cable required the cable operator to renegotiate its retrans deals for Univision.

Univision also balked when Charter sought to apply the financial terms of Univision’s pre-merger Time Warner Cable contracts across the the enlarged Charter footprint. Time Warner Cable was a bigger operator than the old Charter, which meant it was able to secure more advantageous financial terms than Charter. Charter is now the nation’s second-largest cable operator behind Comcast.

Charter this week has maintained that Univision had no right to pull its signals on Jan. 31. Univision said Thursday after the restraining order was granted that Charter has “steadfastly refused” to engage in negotiations.

Charter is the dominant cable operator in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas and other markets with large Hispanic populations.

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