Two notable broadcast-retransmission licensing negotiations broke down over the weekend, with Spanish-language programmer Univision going dark nationally on Dish Network and Sling TV, and Nexstar pulling its CBS affiliate off of HTC in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
More than 60 Univision owned and operated stations, as well as cable channels including Univision Deportes and Galavision, went dark on the Dish-owned pay TV platforms.
“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,” said Alfredo Rodríguez Diaz-Marta, VP of DishLatino and Sling, in a statement.
For its part, Univision said Dish rejected a two-week contract extension offer to keep its channels on the platforms while a new deal could be worked out.
“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,” Univision said in a statement. “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.’”
Meanwhile, local CBS affiliate WBTW-TV and its MyNetworkTV component were pulled off regional cable operator Horry Telephone Cooperative by Nexstar Media Group over the weekend. The cable operator said the broadcaster is trying to double its fees.
"This is not a decision that HTC takes lightly," HTC CEO Mike Hagg told The Sun in Myrtle Beach. "We have been able to reach reasonable agreements with other programmers and prevent any interruption of service. We continue working to get WBTW and MyNetworkTV back on our cable lineup as quickly as possible and appreciate your patience as we try to negotiate a reasonable and fair rate."