New Univision Communications CEO Vince Sadusky on Thursday addressed DISH Network’s “blackout” of the Univision, UniMás, Univision Deportes Network and Galavisión networks for the first time.
He made the remarks during the media company’s Q2 earnings call, and come following comments from DISH chairman Charlie Ergen that the bitter impasse between the DBS provider and Univision means the absence of Univision stations is “probably permanent.”
Dish removed all Univision networks, O&O TV stations and affiliate stations owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group and Entravision Communications from its satellite and Sling TV services more than six weeks ago.
Sinclair and Entravision have each agreed to allow Univision to handle all carriage issues.
In speaking publicly for the first time on the impasse with DISH, Sadusky encouraged its customers to dump DISH and find a new provider “that supports the Hispanic community and carries Univision’s Spanish-language programming.”
Univision has played up the race card in its battle with DISH, saying its negotiating tactics have sent a message that it does not care about Spanish-language television viewers, which have largely helped DISH grow into a formidable competitor to DirecTV and MVPDs such as Charter’s Spectrum, Comcast’s Xfinity, Atlantic Broadband and Optimum, among other companies in high-density Hispanic areas.
While DISH argues that a deal will likely never transpire with Univision, Sadusky feels otherwise.
“We are ready to go in terms of using the full promotional capabilities of our company, which are very significant, and begin to convert what we believe is well over a million DishLATINO subscribers—and again that doesn’t even include Hispanic subscribers to the non-Latino service—so they can get the programming they desire,” he said.
Meanwhile, reports of high cancellation fees have started to arrive via e-mail to RBR+TVBR. According to Sadusky, DISH customers are being penalized up to $480 to cancel their service.
Spectrum and Verizon FioS have noted that they will buy out any DISH contract.
DISH is presently crediting customers $5 a month as an apology for what it says is Univision’s decision not to have its networks air on Sling or Dish services.
Meanwhile, Sadusky asserts that Univision’s viewership levels “are comparable to the leading English-language networks.”
He did not elaborate, or offer specific proof of this claim.
For August 8, Nielsen data show Univision trailing ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX and its primary Spanish-language rival Telemundo among all viewers and in the key adults 19-49 demo in prime-time. In fact, Univision beats Telemundo only at 8pm Eastern/7pm Central; the TV hour saw Telemundo’s El Señor de los cielos handily defeat Univision’s El piloto.
The lone network Univision regularly defeats in prime-time is The CW.