Public Knowledge: Univision's Charter Blackout Illustrates Power Disparity

Saying it was responding to Charter Communications "dropping" Univision, Public Knowledge weighed in Wednesday on the current carriage fight between the MSO and the programmer, one the group said impacts millions of subscriptions.

Unvision went dark to Charter customers at midnight Wednesday (Feb. 1).

Related: Computer Companies Side With Univision in Charter Carriage Fight

“The blackout of Univision on Charter Spectrum cable — which includes millions of former Time Warner Cable customers — is an unfortunate development that shows how disparities in bargaining power between programmers and distributors can leave customers in the lurch," said John Bergmayer, senior counsel at Public Knowledge.

“As we argued in recent comments to the FCC [on independent access to programming] these imbalances can distort competition and harm consumers," Bergmayer added. "We hope that Charter and Univision resolve their dispute in a way that ensures the continued vibrancy of independent programming, particularly programming that serves diverse audiences, while keeping costs low for consumers.”

Charter has said of the blackout that it still has a carriage contract with Univision and expects the programmer to honor it.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.