Univision, U-verse Face Blackout Deadline

Spanish-language broadcaster Univision said it could go dark to nearly 6 million AT&T U-verse TV customers if it doesn’t reach a carriage agreement by Feb. 28.

In an internal memo to employees, Univision said it has made several attempts to negotiate with AT&T, but that the company has not moved forward to renew its agreement with the broadcaster.

In a statement, AT&T said it is in talks with the programmer.

“We continue in active and private discussions with Univision to continue carrying their programming on U-verse,” AT&T said in a statement.

AT&T has been in the process of moving its U-verse telco video subscribers over to its DirecTV platform, which could be a reason for its reluctance to negotiate a Univision-U-verse deal. DirecTV reached its last carriage deal with Univision in March 2013. According to people familiar with the DirecTV deal, the satellite giant’s agreement with Univision is not imminently up for renewal.

In addition to Univision stations, U-verse customers would lose access to Univision-owned UniMás, Galavisión and Univision Deportes Network.

“Our partnership with AT&T, like all other pay TV providers, is very important for UCI and our viewers,” Univision said in the memo. “First, it provides Hispanic America with the vital access to UCI’s content and resources on a premier platform such as U-verse. Also, the economics of this partnership provide UCI the ability to reinvest in technology, content and new community initiatives and campaigns that have been, and continue to be, a lifeline for our consumers.”

Washington bureau chief John Eggerton contributed to this report.