Univision Communications has pulled its channels from DISH Network and Sling TV after the companies failed to reach an agreement in a carriage pricing dispute before a contract ended.
DishLATINO and DISH customers have been blocked from accessing three Univision channels: Univision and UniMás (including local affiliates), and Galavisión. Univision has also blocked Sling customers from accessing all of its channels on the service.
DISH says that despite ratings for these channels decreasing by approximately 30 percent over the past five years among its customers, Univision is “demanding rate increases of roughly 75 percent.” It claims that ratings for the flagship Univision channel have declined nearly 40 percent since 2012.
“Univision’s attempted price hikes target Hispanics despite the fact that fewer members of our community are watching Univision,” said Alfredo Rodríguez Diaz-Marta, VP of DishLATINO and Sling Latino.
“We have served the Hispanic community for nearly 20 years, and as the leading provider of TV packages in English and Spanish, we owe it to our customers to deliver the best content at the best value,” added Rodríguez Diaz-Marta. “For example, in the spirit of our ‘sigamos haciéndola’ campaign, we will soon be the first to launch a new, commercial-free channel wholly dedicated to teaching English as a second language to learners of all levels. This channel will be available to DishLATINO and Sling Latino customers at no additional cost.”
To ensure customers have additional Spanish-language entertainment options during this time, DishLATINO is making some news and entertainment channels available at no extra cost. These options include Multimedios, Mexicanal and additional free movies. Sling TV is providing customers who have the Best of Spanish TV service or Best of Spanish TV Extra a free preview of the Mexico Regional Service.
Rodríguez Diaz-Marta commented: “Given current events impacting the Hispanic community, we call on Univision to return its signal to DISH, DishLATINO and Sling TV customers as soon as possible. This is not the time to be making outrageous demands to make up for bad business decisions, or, as many have suggested, better position themselves for a sale.”
Meanwhile, Univision says that its flagship station is the number three most-watched channel in any language on the DISH Network. It also claims that Univision is responsible for 60 percent of the Spanish-language viewership on the DishLATINO offering.
“It is outrageous that DISH has rejected our offer of a two-week contract extension to allow its customers and our viewers to continue to have access to Univision’s highly rated networks and stations,” the company said.
“While DISH has routinely used blackouts against broadcasters—its 68 broadcast blackouts since 2010 are significantly more than any other distributor in that time—Univision expected DISH to take our negotiations and its commitment to Hispanic consumers seriously when it told its customers this week that it wanted to ‘reach a mutually beneficial deal’ for Univision’s ‘high-quality content.’ Instead of fulfilling its promise to its customers, DISH has chosen to devalue our programming, disingenuously offering a fraction of what it pays our English-language peers. We stand ready to continue negotiations and enter into a short-term extension to restore service, especially with DISH customers missing our coverage of the Mexican Presidential Election, which many are calling ‘the biggest election in Mexican history.’ DISH should do right by its Spanish-speaking audiences, agree to restore service and negotiate a good faith agreement.”