Updated at 6:40pm Eastern
It’s been one month since Univision‘s two broadcast networks and its Galavisión cable TV network were dropped from DISH Network, by law, in the absence of a new retransmission fee agreement. The impasse includes affiliates not owned by Univision, impacting Entravision Communications and even Sinclair Broadcast Group.
According to DISH, Univision renewal talks are “in an apparent deadlock.” As such, subscribers are getting credited for the channels’ absence.
Credits of $5 per month will go to those subscribers that have either the DishLATINO or Sling Latino package. Viewers on June 30 lost access to Univision and UniMás O&Os and affiliates, in addition to Galavisión.
The latest war of words was initiated by DISH President/CEO Erik Carlson. He said, “While we’ve been available, responsive and have made a best effort to negotiate, Univision appears to be forcing an impasse. We strongly believe that, in light of Univision’s departure from the negotiation table and from the DISH lineup, it’s the right thing to offer a credit to our DishLATINO and Sling Latino customers.”
The credits will be seen starting August 1. Customers subscribing to the “Best of Spanish TV” standalone service on Sling TV will also be issued a monthly credit of $5.
Prices of Spanish-language add-ons will remain $5 per month when combined with Sling Orange, Sling Blue or any other Spanish-language service, DISH clarified.
Will Univision, UniMás and Galavisión ever return to DISH?
“We assume Univision’s decision is permanent,” Carlson declared. “Univision executives are seeking a massive rate increase despite reports showing the programmer lost more than 50% of its prime-time viewership in the last seven years.”
As RBR+TVBR has reported, DISH has declined to share how the price Univision has proposed compares to other networks with similar ratings at the time a new retransmission fee agreement needs approval, regardless of trends.
DISH also took aim at how Univision “not only offers its content free over the air, but it also sells its content online at a lower price to consumers — $7.99 a month for Univision Now — than what they propose charging DISH.”
Univision in early July told RBR+TVBR, “Sure, of course some consumers can opt for Univision NOW (although cable networks like Galavision aren’t on Univision Now). But, our own OTT offerings shouldn’t excuse DISH for punishing current subscribers who would lose access to content and packages they’re already paying for. DISH is asking customers to pay extra for something they were previously getting as part of their DISH subscription, which is like an added tax on Spanish-speaking customers. Many television programmers have OTT offerings – which begs the question: Are they focusing on Univision’s OTT services because the programming is primarily Spanish-language?”
On Monday (7/30), Carlson countered, “Univision has sent every signal that it’s abandoning DishLATINO and Sling Latino viewers. We remain committed to serving the Hispanic community in the U.S. with great content at a great value. Based on Univision’s latest proposed rate increase, DishLATINO and Sling Latino customers would get a better deal if they use a free over-the-air antenna or subscribe to the Univision Now service.”
DishLATINO, minus Univision, UniMás, and Galavisión, offers more than 35 Spanish-language channels including Telemundo O&Os and affiliates, ESPN Deportes, Fox Deportes, and Azteca América.
No DishLATINO Without Univision
Univision issued a statement late Monday in response to DISH’s latest salvo of accusations.
As far as Doral, Fla.-based Univision is concerned, there is no DISHLatino if its three networks aren’t a part of the offering.
“With this announced refund, Dish recognizes what its Hispanic customers already know to be true: without Univision networks and local stations, there is no DishLATINO and certainly no ‘Best of Spanish’ on Sling TV,” Univision said. “Given that our networks account for 60% of Spanish-language viewing on DishLatino, their $5 refund is yet another example of Dish drastically undervaluing Univision and Spanish-language programming, as well as disregarding why Latino viewers have paid Dish for its services. As such, we remind our valued viewers who subscribe to Dish services that our services are available on many other platforms. We recommend that they choose the brands that support the Hispanic community.”
Regarding the current state of Univision’s negotiations with Dish, the company revales that it returned to Dish corporate offices last week in Colorado, at which time Univision offered “several paths forward” to show Dish how serious Univision is about resolving the dispute amicably.
“Despite Univision’s good-faith and meaningful offer, Dish responded with an offer that was essentially the same as the one they previously offered back in June,” Univision says. “We remain open and willing to negotiate with Dish at any time and ready to return to their offices this week should they choose to be constructive to the process. Our audience and our community deserve to be treated fairly by Dish and we will continue to fight on their behalf.”