Put Univision in the "no" column on the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger.
During the Spanish-language media giant's first quarter earnings call, CEO Randy Falco told investors that the merger would hurt Hispanic TV viewers.
"You've already heard that the new Comcast will be the dominant cable and high-speed broadband provider in markets with 30 percent of all U.S. cable households. What you may not know is that the new Comcast will serve markets with 91 percent of all Hispanic households and be the top TV distributor in 19 of the top 20 Hispanic markets," Falco said. "That gives this new company staggering influence over Hispanic consumers."
There's nothing hypothetical, Falco said, about how Comcast could easily continue to deny distribution to competing programming. Comcast, Falco explained, is the only cable company that doesn't distribute Univision's sports networks.
"Either Comcast doesn't understand that soccer is a passion point for Hispanics or they don't support competitors who have competing services. My fear is that the latter is the case and this type of anti-competitive conduct would continue," Falco said.
Defending its track record in delivering Hispanic programming, Comcast said in a statement it delivers more than 60 Latino networks, most recently adding new independent networks El Rey and Baby First Americas, and launching the new Xfinity Latino entertainment channel. "We will not have undue power in negotiating with programming networks, and we have a great record of working with programmers from the largest to the smallest," said John Demming, Comcast's executive director of corporate and financial comunications.
Regulators are currently reviewing Comcast’s $45 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable. At the very least, Falco urged regulators to impose tough conditions on Comcast to protect competitors like Univision, which serve minority communities.
Hoping to appease regulators, Comcast announced a deal with Charter Communications to divest 3.9 million subscribers from the combined company to reduce its national cable coverage to 30 percent.