Univision Goes Dark on U-Verse

According to Univision, its networks and stations went dark on AT&T U-Verse as of midnight Eastern time after the two sides failed to reach a carriage agreement.

Univision had warned staffers late last month that there could be a blackout.

“Despite Univision’s tireless efforts to reach an agreement, AT&T is denying its U-verse customers access to our networks and stations, which have the most popular Spanish-language news, sports and entertainment," the company said in a statement early Friday (March 4). Univision said the issue was not getting paid fair value for its channels, on par with English language nets.

"AT&T is redlining our audience by refusing to recognize the value of the Univision networks and the consumers we serve," the company said.

"AT&T's discriminatory behavior is preventing Hispanic America from receiving content and information in language and in culture, which is especially vital during this election year," the company said. "These disputes can be confusing for consumers, but in our case it’s simple: we must receive fair compensation, on par with English language broadcasters."

In addition to Univision stations, the blackout includes Univision, UniMás, Galavisión, and Univision Deportes Network.

AT&T has been migrating U-Verse subs to DirecTV, which already carries Univision.

AT&T responded in a statement: “Univision has blocked our U-verse customers from receiving most of their channels. This is about nothing more than Univision demanding we pay an outrageous price increase.  We are fighting for all of our customers to keep what Univision charges at a reasonable amount. Numerous and diverse programming deals we have signed recently prove this can be accomplished." The company said it hoped Univision could join that group. "We hope to resolve this matter quickly and appreciate our customers’ patience. Spanish-language channels are important to us and our customers. That’s why we carry 78 Spanish-language channels.”

An AT&T spokesperson would not comment on whether negotiations are ongoing or, if not, when they would resume.

Mike Farrell contributed to this report.

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.