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Finger-pointing continues as DISH-Univision disconnect nears one month


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Finger-pointing continues as DISH-Univision disconnect nears one month

The rhetoric between DISH Network Corp. and Univision Communications Inc. continues as their impasse, which has kept the programmer's services dark to the distributor's satellite and streaming customers since the end of June, does not appear close to a resolution.

Starting Aug. 1, DISH said its bills will reflect a $5-per-month a monthly credit for DishLATINO monthly packages, while those subscribing to the "Best of Spanish TV" stand-alone service on virtual provider Sling TV will receive the same monthly credit. But no further progress has been made in negotiations.

"While we've been available, responsive and have made a best effort to negotiate, Univision appears to be forcing an impasse," Erik Carlson, DISH president and CEO, said in a news release. "We strongly believe that, in light of Univision's departure from the negotiation table and from the DISH lineup, it's the right thing to offer a credit to our DishLATINO and Sling Latino customers."

Univision issued its own release, saying that with the refund, "DISH recognizes what its Hispanic customers already know to be true: without Univision networks and local stations, there is no DishLATINO and certainly no Best of Spanish on Sling TV."

The programmer said that with its networks accounting for 60% of Spanish-language viewing on DishLATINO, the $5 refund is "yet another example of DISH drastically undervaluing Univision and Spanish-language programming, as well as disregarding why Latino viewers have paid DISH for its services."

DishLATINO offers more than 35 Spanish language news, entertainment and sports channels.

The disconnect began June 30 and has affected broadcast networks Univision (US), UniMás (US), and cable channel Galavision (US), as well as dedicated sports cable services Univision Deportes (US), El Rey Network (US), Univision tlnovelas (US) and FOROtv (US) on the virtual offering.

Relative to negotiations, Univision said it returned to DISH's corporate offices last week, offering "several paths forward to show DISH how serious we are about resolving this dispute amicably. And despite Univision’s good-faith and meaningful offer, DISH responded with an offer that was essentially the same as the one they previously offered back in June. We remain open and willing to negotiate with Dish at any time and ready to return to their offices this week should they choose to be constructive to the process."

DISH claimed Univision Communications is seeking a 75% price increase, despite ratings erosion across the programmer's portfolio.

"We assume Univision's decision is permanent: Univision executives are seeking a massive rate increase despite reports showing the programmer lost more than 50% of its prime-time viewership in the last seven years," said Carlson. "Univision not only offers its content free over the air, but it also sells its content online at a lower price to consumers — $7.99 a month for Univision Now — than what they propose charging DISH."

Univision has maintained that DISH has "chosen to devalue our programming, disingenuously offering a fraction of what it pays our English-language peers," and that its fare ranks among the most-viewed programming for the distributor’s subscribers.