Verizon pulls Univision channels amid retransmission beef

Verizon FiOS set-top
Verizon said Univision wants to "more than double" its retransmission fee. (Verizon)

Univision has accused Verizon of yanking its Spanish-language channels off Fios TV, with the two companies unable to agree on a new broadcast retransmission licensing deal. 

“At 5 p.m. EST on October 16, 2017, entirely without warning, Verizon pulled Univision’s signal from both its FiOS and mobile platforms, leaving consumers without access to the news, information and entertainment they rely on,” Univision said in a statement. 

“Verizon chose to take this unprecedented action despite Univision’s offer of an extension of the current agreement,” the broadcaster added, before pulling out a time-honored staple in retrans/carriage disputes—the natural disaster card.

“In light of recent natural disasters and current events impacting the Hispanic community, we are surprised and deeply concerned that Verizon would remove us from its systems—and without warning to its customers. We urge Verizon to put Univision back on and come back to the negotiating table and prove its commitment to the Hispanic community and show that it understands the value of Spanish-language programming,” Univision added. 

For its part, Verizon said Univision is seeking unreasonable prices, and it already has plenty of other Spanish-language programming options. 

“Unfortunately, Univision is proposing an increase of more than double what they charge for access to their channels today,” Verizon said in its statement. “In addition to the unfortunate timing of this excessive price increase, we believe the appeal for Univision’s programming is waning given their reported declining viewership. We’ve provided Univision a reasonable offer to continue providing our customers access to their channels. Unfortunately they rejected that offer and as a result we no longer have rights to bring them those channels. This is the same tactic Univision has used with multiple cable providers this year and last year.

“Verizon is committed to providing a wide variety of great Spanish-language entertainment options to our customers,” Verizon added. "Given the recent natural disasters in Puerto Rico, we worked with the owners of WAPA America and TV Dominicana to make these channels available to all our customers at no additional charge. This is in addition to an already strong line-up that includes channels like Telemundo, Discovery en Espanol, Telemicro Internacional and TVE Internacional.”