Univision Makes Case Against Dish to FCC, FTC

Univision has sent a letter to the heads of the FCC and Federal Trade Commission buttressing its case that Dish continued to market the channels that had gone dark on the satellite service.

The two are embroiled in a retransmission consent impasse that has resulted in Dish not carrying Univision, UniMas and Galavision since the end of June.

Related: Hispanic Groups Ask Texas AG to Vet Dish Marketing

In the letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and FTC Chairman Joe Simons, Univision was backing up a letter to the two agency heads from the Latino Coalition, which talked about its concerns over Dish marketing of dark channels.

Univision does not ask them for any action, but says that it agrees with the coalition that "customers should not be penalized financially for Dish's marketing practices with respect to our services that it no longer carries."

Univision has claimed that Dish was misrepresenting the availability of the channels, discouraging customers from switching to another provider by assuring them that the channels would soon be back on Dish or issuing marketing materials that suggested the channels were still on Dish.

Dish has said that its agents were not misrepresenting the status of negotiations, that they had been given accurate talking points and that while there was no guarantee they all followed that script perfectly, any inaccuracies were exceptions and not a "systematic issue."

It also said the page on its digital platform that still had the Univision channel logos on it was an inadvertent slip-up amidst a general scrubbing of the logos and was promptly corrected.

Dish had much more to say in response to the letter to the FCC and FTC, releasing the following statement.

This is a business dispute, plain and simple. The fact is, Univision is demanding DISH pay considerably more, despite a material decline in its overall ratings.

When Univision chose to remove its channels from DISH and DishLATINO customers, our team worked to remove references to the impacted channels on marketing materials and web properties. The logos of some Univision channels were inadvertently left within the cart flow of one of our add-on package offerings. Upon learning of this oversight, we worked quickly to remove the logos. We are happy to work with any customers who were impacted.

We refuse to allow our customers to pay outrageous increases, especially for content that is available for free over the air, as well as available online for substantially less than Univision is trying to charge DISH customers. To support our DishLATINO customers during this time, DISH is offering a $5 per month credit, replacement content, and over-the-air antennas in select markets. We remain committed to serving the Hispanic community in the U.S. with great content at a great value.

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.