Univision Stations Go Dark on Dish Amid Contract Battle

More than 60 Univision O&O station have gone dark on Dish’s national platforms as the companies battle over a new carriage contract.

The Univision-owned stations and cable channels including Univision Deportes and Galavision went dark at 4 p.m. PT as the previous contract expired.

The sides have been negotiating a new pact for weeks. Dish on Friday night declared the talks at an impasse.

“Given current events impacting the Hispanic community, we call on Univision to return its signal to DISH, DishLATINO and Sling TV customers as soon as possible. This is not the time to be making outrageous demands to make up for bad business decisions, or, as many have suggested, better position themselves for a sale,” said Alfredo Rodríguez Diaz-Marta, VP of DishLatino and Sling.

Univision said Dish rejected its offer of a two-week contract extension to allow talks to continue without an interruption of service for Dish and Sling customers. Dish’s satellite and streaming platforms have about 13.1 million subscribers.

“It is outrageous that Dish has rejected our offer of a two-week contract extension to allow its customers and our viewers to continue to have access to Univision’s highly rated networks and stations. While Dish has routinely used blackouts against broadcasters—its 68 broadcast blackouts since 2010 are significantly more than any other distributor in that time — Univision expected Dish to take our negotiations and its commitment to Hispanic consumers seriously when it told its customers this week that it wanted to ‘reach a mutually beneficial deal’ for Univision’s ‘high quality content,’ ” Univision said in a statement.

The dispute between Dish and Univision is the latest example of tension between programmers and MVPDs as the traditional TV eco-system adjusts to audience fragmentation, the migration of viewership to on-demand platforms and the influx of direct-to-consumer streaming platforms such as Netflix.

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