Two key players in the Spanish-language television world are in federal court in Los Angeles and the future of the telenovela (Spanish-speaking soap operas, for lack of another definition) is at stake. Univision is the largest Spanish television station in the United States. Grupo Televisa creates the programming and sells it to Univision. Televisa is claiming that Univision materially breached the contract and that Televisa should be allowed terminate the entire contract.
More specifically, Univision is refusing to pay Televisa over $100 million in royalties that Televisa claims is owed. Univision responded that it has already paid over $1 billion in royalties and will pay another $2 billion before the contract expires.
Interestingly, media consultants point out , Univision needs Televisa a lot more than Televisa needs Univision. In fact, over 35% of Univision’s revenues come from advertisements made by Televisa. If the contract is terminated, Univision will need to scramble to put together its own content in order to stay afloat. It will also likely lose a lot of its viewers who love the Televisa programming that they say reminds them of the television they watched with their parents in grandparents growing up in Mexico.