DISH: Univision retrans impasse
July 2, 2018
DISH, operator of DishLATINO and Sling TV, has confirmed that negotiations with Univision Communications have reached an apparent impasse following what it describes as “untenable” demands by the programmer and by Univision’s abrupt departure from the negotiating table. As a result, certain services went ‘dark’ on June 30th
Suggesting that Univision is asking more for less, Alfredo Rodríguez Diaz-Marta, Vice President of DishLATINO and Sling Latino, said that the programmer was calling for price hikes designed to impact the Latino market DISH has served for more than 20 years. “We are disappointed and saddened by Univision’s threats to block our customers from Univision news and entertainment content, especially during such challenging times,” he added. “Univision waited weeks to counter our previous proposal and has not responded to our latest proposal,” said Rodríguez Diaz-Marta.
DISH says that Univision the operator pay roughly 75 per cent more for channels whose ratings it suggests have declined among DISH viewers by approximately 30 per cent over the past five years. “In fact, ratings for its flagship Univision channel have declined by nearly 40 per cent since 2012,” contends DISH. “These trends are only expected to continue. For example, Univision failed to secure rights for the current World Cup, as well as the World Cup in 2022 and 2026, losing out to one of its competitors in domestic Hispanic programming,” it notes.
What makes Univision’s proposals even more unrealistic, argues DISH, is the fact that over the past two quarters, Univision channels have been among the least-watched linear channels on Sling Orange and Sling Blue. Virtually all Sling customers can access Univision Now should they choose.
And, despite the direct-to-consumer Univision Now app costing $7.99 per month, Univision is asking DISH to pay almost double that amount for its DishLATINO and Sling Latino customers to watch the same content. Additionally, many customers of both DISH and Sling are able to receive Univision for free over-the-air. DISH and Sling will send free antennas to eligible customers who request one.
“Univision is dealing with tremendous uncertainty as it faces significant business challenges, including its failure to secure rights for the World Cup,” said Rodríguez Diaz-Marta. “A massive price increase on our customers is not a path forward; we remain unwavering in our commitment to those we serve. We hope Univision will reconsider its demands and help us reach a swift, fair resolution.”