Univision Warns Dish Customers of Potential Blackout

Univision Communications began warning Dish Network customers Saturday (June 23) of a potential blackout of the Spanish-language network, claiming that it has hit a snag in retransmission-consent negotiations with the satellite TV giant that won’t likely be resolved soon.

Neither side would reveal when the retrans deal actually expires. But in a statement Univision said that Dish has already rejected three “good faith” carriage offers by the network, including one to extend its current agreement to avoid a service disruption.

Dish customers could be missing Noticiero Univision, the Spanish-language network's nightly news program.

Dish customers could be missing Noticiero Univision, the Spanish-language network's nightly news program.

Dish claims that Univision is demanding a 75% increase to its current carriage fees, a boost that the satellite company says is exorbitant, given that its ratings have declined by nearly one-third over the past five years. Univision also lost the Spanish language broadcast rights to the World Cup soccer – currently airing on rival Spanish-language broadcaster Telemundo – not only for this year but for 2022 and 2026, according to Dish. 

Univision claims it is the third most-watched network on Dish in any language, and its Univision Deportes channel is Dish’s second most watched sports channel in any language. UniMás is a top-15 network regardless of language on Dish, and, collectively, the network claims its channels represent 60% of the total Spanish-language viewership on Dish’s ethnic package, DishLatino.

“Dish has left us no choice but to alert our viewers that they could face yet another Dish service interruption,” Univision said in a statement. “We remain hopeful that we can reach a fair deal with Dish that doesn’t deprive its customers and our viewers access to the indispensable news, information and content that they rely upon from UCI, now more than ever.”

Dish also remains hopeful that a deal could be reached and expressed some puzzlement at why the company decided to negotiate its retrans deal in public while there is still time to hammer out an agreement.

"We are actively working to reach a fair deal before the contract between Dish and Univision expires knowing that only Univision can choose to take its content away from Dish and Sling customers,” Dish said in a statement, reminding customers that they can still access Univision broadcast content for free over the air. “There is still time for the two parties to reach a mutually beneficial deal.”