Univision Goes Dark on AT&T U-Verse, Accuses Telecom of "Discriminatory Behavior"

Randy Falco P

"AT&T is redlining our audience by refusing to recognize the value of the Univision networks and the consumers we serve," the Spanish-language media giant says.

Spanish-language media giant Univision Communications' networks and stations have gone dark on AT&T's video service U-verse as the companies failed to reach an agreement in retransmission consent and carriage renewal talks.

AT&T has around 5.9 million U-verse pay TV subscribers, AT&T reported earlier this year. U-verse subscribers lost access to Univision networks and stations Thursday night as of midnight. Along with Univision and UniMas broadcast stations, the blackout also includes cable network Galavision and sports cable network Univision Deportes.

Univision is led by CEO Randy Falco.

The companies on Friday blamed each other.

“Despite Univision’s tireless efforts to reach an agreement, AT&T is denying its U-verse customers access to our networks and stations, which have the most popular Spanish-language news, sports and entertainment," Univision said in a statement. "AT&T is redlining our audience by refusing to recognize the value of the Univision networks and the consumers we serve."

It added: "AT&T's discriminatory behavior is preventing Hispanic America from receiving content and information in language and in culture, which is especially vital during this election year. These disputes can be confusing for consumers, but in our case it’s simple: We must receive fair compensation, on par with English-language broadcasters."

Since AT&T's acquisition of satellite TV giant DirecTV last year, the telecom giant has said it would look to bring U-Verse programming expenses in line with DirecTV's lower rates.

“Univision has blocked our U-verse customers from receiving most of their channels," AT&T said. "This is about nothing more than Univision demanding we pay an outrageous price increase. We are fighting for all of our customers to keep what Univision charges at a reasonable amount. Numerous and diverse programming deals we have signed recently prove this can be accomplished."

We hope to resolve this matter quickly and appreciate our customers’ patience. Spanish-language channels are important to us and our customers. That’s why we carry 78 Spanish-language channels.”

Falco had recently said he was "optimistic" about a new carriage deal with AT&T, saying the telecom company's management "seems to be saying all the right things."