Charter and Univision forestall blackout through June


Univision has agreed to hold off on blacking out its channels on Charter Communications through June, or until a federal judge can issue a summary judgment on a dispute that started last summer.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, which obtained court papers, the Spanish-language broadcaster is electing not to fight a temporary injunction Charter obtained when Univision temporarily blacked out the MSO in late January. 

"Univision will continue to provide the signals of its stations and networks to Charter through the determination of motions for summary judgment," court documents said.  "Both parties will file for summary judgment on liability as to their respective declaratory judgment claims ... by May 25, 2017."

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Univision blacked out its channels on Charter late last month, but they were restored on the MSO on Feb. 2 when a judge temporarily overseeing the case ordered an injunction of the blackout. 

The kerfuffle began last July, when Univision sued Charter, alleging that the MSO was illegitimately using the superior content-licensing agreement of the company it just purchased, Time Warner Cable, to retransmit and carry Univision channels. These outlets included not only the Univision flagship network, but also the UniMas broadcast network and cable channels Galavision, El Rey and Univision Deportes.

Charter is defending itself not just against Univision, but also 21st Century Fox and CBS Corp. over the cable company’s attempt to use superior content-licensing agreements acquired during the company’s purchase of TWC.

In the case of Univision, Charter’s legacy contract with the broadcaster just expired, while TWC’s doesn’t end until 2022.

“We have a contract with Univision and expect them to honor it,” Charter has repeatedly stated. 

For its part, Univision said earlier that it "remains ready and willing to meet at any time with Charter Spectrum to engage in comprehensive, good-faith negotiations for the long term carriage of our stations and networks. To date, Charter Spectrum has steadfastly refused to engage in such negotiations.”

Neither party commented on this latest legal outcome.