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Univision Networks Go Dark to Dish Subscribers

Univision’s stations went dark on Dish Network and Sling TV with both sides pointing a finger at the other for triggering the blackout.

“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,’” said Univision in a statement.

“Instead of fulfilling its promise to its customers, Dish has chosen to devalue our programming, disingenuously offering a fraction of what it pays our English-language peers," Univision said. “We stand ready to continue negotiations and enter into a short-term extension to restore service, especially with Dish customers missing our coverage of the Mexican Presidential Election, which many are calling 'the biggest election in Mexican history.' DISH should do right by its Spanish-speaking audiences, agree to restore service, and negotiate a good faith agreement.”

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Dish said that Univision blocked Dish, DishLatino and Sling TV subscribers from accessing its channels, including Univision, UniMas and Galavision.

“Univision’s attempted price hikes target Hispanics despite the fact that fewer members of our community are watching Univision,” said Alfredo Rodríguez Diaz-Marta, VP of DisLatino and Sling Latino.

“We have served the Hispanic community for nearly 20 years, and as the leading provider of TV packages in English and Spanish, we owe it to our customers to deliver the best content at the best value,” said Rodríguez Diaz-Marta. “For example, in the spirit of our ‘sigamos haciéndola’ campaign, we will soon be the first to launch a new, commercial-free channel wholly dedicated to teaching English as a second language to learners of all levels. This channel will be available to DishLatino and Sling Latino customers at no additional cost.”

Dish said it is giving its subscribers additional Spanish-language programming options.

DishLatino is making some news and entertainment channels available at no extra cost, including Multimedios, Mexicanal and additional free movies on channel 828. Sling TV is providing customers who have the Best of Spanish TV service or Best of Spanish TV Extra a free preview of the Mexico Regional Service.

“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 Rodríguez Diaz-Marta.