The satellite-TV company Dish Network is once again playing hardball with a media company, and Univision could disappear from Dish's dishes later this week. After six months of trench warfare, negotiations on a new contract between the two have ground to a halt, and Univision is running TV ads threatening to pull its 64 local channels from Dish on Thursday, April 2. (The contract actually expires on March 31, but the trade journal Multichannel News reports that Univision won't pull the plug until after the quarterly Nielsen sweeps end on Wednesday.)
In the past, Univision has not only not charged Dish for its programming but has invoked a federal law that says the satellite company mustcarry local channels that request it. Now, though, Univision is asking for money -- as much as $1 per viewer, by some reports. Dish, which has a long history of squabbling telling other media companies to blow it out their piehole over money, is resisting. Usually, in the end, everybody cools off, the greatest example being the epic 2007 dispute with Court TV (now truTV). That will almost certainly be the case this time, since Dish's competitor DirecTV already has a deal with Univision. But it's always fun to imagine a Big Media train wreck, so keep your fingers crossed.