Univision Warns It May Resort to Blackout in Charter Contract Skirmish

The leader in Spanish-language broadcasting has threatened pulling its programming in the wake of Charter's $71.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable.

Univision warned Charter Communications subscribers that the Spanish-language giant may pull its programming from major markets like Los Angeles and New York in a skirmish over contract negotiations.

The dispute emanates from Charter's $71.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable. Univision claims that Charter is in breach of contract from an agreement both sides made before the merger was completed last year, whereas Charter claims that Univision should be honoring Time Warner Cable’s carriage terms that run through 2022.

Univision has been warning viewers about a potential blackout on its channels if both sides do not strike a deal in the coming weeks. Charter maintains that Univision should honor the Time Warner contract.

In a statement issued late Friday, Univision accused Charter — the nation’s No. 2 cable company with some 30 million customers nationwide — of using its size to get a more favorable deal despite how it might impact customers.

“This is a perfect example of how a behemoth cable company like Charter uses its excessive market power to harm content companies and the millions of subscribers who rely on Univision and its suite of networks for vital news and information in language,” said the statement. “Despite Univision’s many attempts to resolve the dispute by offering good-faith settlement solutions, Charter has rejected all of Univision’s efforts.”

Univision added that it will “continue 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.”