Univision Asks AT&T to Keep Channels Up Post-Debate

Univision has asked AT&T to keep its programming on U-Verse for 24 hours after the end of the Democratic debate. AT&T says it is glad to comply, but adds that it wants Univision to make its networks, not just stations, available.

AT&T had requested that Univision allow it to restore the TV channels for the duration of the debate--Univision stations and networks have been off U-Verse since March 4 in a carriage dispute. Univision had agreed, and the early heated rhetoric in the impass has since cooled.

A source said there had been some discussions of keeping the channels on for some period afterwards for the post-debate talking head analysis, but now Univision has "requested" that AT&T keep the channels up for another 24 hours.

Asked about the unusual move, a Univision spokesperson had no comment, but on background a source suggested it was a way to extend access to the programming U-Verse audiences want.

The statement suggested it would be a sign of good faith and cited ongoing negotiations.

"Univision is hopeful that AT&T will show good faith in the parties’ ongoing negotiations by treating Univision’s top-rated Hispanic content on par with its English-language broadcasting counterparts in order for the companies to continue to collaborate in serving the growing U.S. Hispanic community," Univision said.

“Of course, we’re glad to see Univision has agreed to part of our request by unblocking some of its content for another 24 hours beyond tonight’s debate," an AT&T spokesperson said. "Unfortunately, they have not unblocked all of their content as we requested. On behalf of all of our customers, we again request continuous access to not only the Univision stations, but all their networks, while a fair agreement is ironed out.”

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.