Nearly seven months after Univision Communications sued Charter Communications in a dispute over programming fees, one of the nation’s biggest Hispanic media players has started warning Charter customers that they may soon lose access to Univision, UniMás and even the Galavisión pay-TV network.
The lawsuit, filed in July 2016, came after Charter acquired Time Warner Cable, becoming the second-largest cable company in the nation.
At the time, Univision said it had no alternative because Charter had “outright refused” to negotiate a renewal agreement with the Doral, Fla.-based company.
The trouble centers on Charter’s belief that the contract Univision had with Time Warner Cable for retransmission fees is controlling per its merger agreement with the MVPD, rather than Charter’s contract with Univision.
Univision was vocal in its disagreement, saying that Charter “bases this argument on the preposterous theory that as a result of the merger, Time Warner Cable, rather than Charter, is managing all these cable systems.”
Since the fiery comments, little progress has been made between Univision and Charter, which has shifted all of its mainland U.S. systems that were Time Warner-branded to its Spectrum mark. Oceanic Time Warner has not adopted the Spectrum name as of yet.
Now, time is running out, and Univision is flexing its muscles once again to garner viewer support in its long-standing battle against a company that dominates the Los Angeles and New York markets, where Univision stations are in a heated ratings battle with Telemundo O&Os.
“Despite Univision’s many attempts to resolve the dispute by offering good-faith settlement solutions, Charter has rejected all of Univision’s efforts,” Univision said in a statement released Friday afternoon (1/27). “Given this unfortunate impasse, Univision has no choice but to inform Charter’s customers that they may lose access to Univision’s networks and stations.”
It added that Univision “is committed to continuing to fight for the dignity and value of our community in the marketplace and the important role we play in providing a voice for Hispanic America during these uncertain times.”
Charter has only responded to the press by saying, “We have a contract with Univision and expect them to honor it.”